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G. Fallis


Crows' Pass

Usually there's a purple hole
at the end of the night sky
through which we fly west
toward the undying sea
arriving silent at dawn.

Then at dusk, the sun going,
the hole in the sky returns
sometimes a wash of pinkish blue
guiding us home to roost again
under the warmth of green cedars.

We are black legions now
passing quietly high above
heading for the day shift at the beach
where we hammer clams, nibble on starfish,
scour the tidal beds for fish and snails
and unearth the odd grubs nestled
along worn shores and old dikes.

Our semi-retired elders
hang back and forage trashcans,
take care of road kill and leftovers,
and carry their catch by claw or beak
to stash away in eaves troughs,
under loosened shingles or
in our secret hideaways-
that are only known to our kind.

God created the owl to be wise,
the eagle to be strong,
the heron to be graceful,
the robin to marshal in spring,
the hummingbird to delight,
and the sparrow to sing.

But we are proletarian,
created for grunt work,
to pick up garbage,
to remove the dead and
to clean beaches and roads.
It's a simple vocation,
one given not chosen.
It is an honorable path
with many things to crow about.

Most of all we
caw the shots as we see them,
screech truth back and forth,
and cover each other's back.
We'll protect our meek, our weak,
and challenge the strong of the earth.
We fly through the holes in the sky
at beginning and end of each day.
The world's better off this way.

By Michael Dallaire