the year has let her toenail edges be soft-kissed,
as stretched on solstice bier she lies
with shuttered eyes.
The crows upon the trees' dead branches
laugh in avalanches
in their nervous drollery -- at seeing her supine below
untouched by snow,
which all hold proper for her burial.
Those corvines aerial
in scouting near and far have missed
all signs of snowy cerements, in the mist,
and wonder what dire dooms befall
a year that ends without her proper pall.
They drop pine branches on her open palms
as though not we but she had need for alms.
She lies oblivious.
Yet that she lies so obvious
has offered more to prompt the crows' concern.
They fly to find what they might learn
from others tending distant regions,
and gather in tree-branch legions
sharing caws, caws, caws --
while some call out, "Because, cause, cause,"
when pointing down with beaks
at one below who walks in mud and speaks
as though the world has not gone wrong,
who sings a sentimental Christmas song.
The crows regret they let humans infest
the sacramental nest,
within which, after winter-solstice night,
each new year comes to light.
The crows have naught to do but wait,
this time when dusk comes early and the morning, late:
for Mother Crow will bring forgiving night
to drape, in place of snowy white.
—— Copyright 2015 Mark Rich