I see no detail on the crow
I’m sure he sees my eyes
That only see his dark silhouette against a blaze of blue
A painter’s brush undipped in pastels
Sun and clouds have smeared behind him.
Caw-caw, he breaks his shadow pose
Caw-cawing stiffly twice
He beckons to another to join him on his silver perch
A lamp planted in the black meadow
Here in this steaming parking lot.
One faces east, the other west
Searching their bleak domain
Hungry for dead things, while the thieving gulls from the sea hover
Far above, steal the higher vision
For meager meals that wait below.
In my black coat, in my black car
I wait beneath a pole
The fake totem of Neshaminy Mall, plastic mock of myth
The crow’s orange cartoon beak hanging
Over the face of Eagle, Bear.
My voice still drums the name
I sing the ancient name and beat the drum of Neshaminy
Call the spirit of the hill to rise
Above the mantel of its grave.
On the black skin that coats the hill
And silences the drum
I wait for Crow – Tell me where the spirit of the hill has fled –
I study Crow’s flight like a shaman
Searching the sky, reading his runes.
Crows begin their dark ritual
Pierce the air with their beaks
Caw-cawing stiffly twice, twice again, they chant the ancient name
In their tongue, “Neshaminy, Caw-Caw,
Where,where have the fish people gone?”
Creek flows I do not hear her voice
Fish swim and are not trapped
By Lenni Lenape. Do they come along the tidal marsh
Still salted by the green Atlantic,
Her gift, one hundred miles away?
Over the land, over the creek
The cloud of Europe spread
Its Anglo names: Eddington, Logan, Gibbs; while the Lenape
Receded into Pennsylvania
And fled along the veil of tears.
Their blood runs thin in names they left
Behind – no drums, no fish
Just Neshaminy. While on this hill mortician crows complain
Of the human tide that swept over
And covered the land with their flood.