As the Crow Flies
Crows commandeer the lawn,
flap and flutter, pull darkness
about sloped shoulders,
skulk toward the orchard,
grow drunk on windfall cherries.
They are quick
to take offense. Argumentative.
Insolent. Formed of black light.
Jailhouse tattoos lie beneath
slick feathers. Jaundiced eyes
perceive weakness. Scabrous voices
vibrate bone. Skin
prickles as obsidian feathers
sprout beneath khaki shirts, voices
grow hoarse. See how
our sleek backs diffuse light,
how we hop and preen? Veiled
by night’s dark hair, we watch Venus
teeter the ragged tree line. Regret
glistens like white pebbles
beneath the waning moon.
Ann Howells, of Dallas, Texas, edited Illya’s Honey for eighteen years. Her books are: Under a Lone Star (Village Books, 2016) and a D/FW anthology she edited, Cattlemen & Cadillacs (Dallas Poets Community, 2016). One of her chapbooks, Softly Beating Wings (Blackbead, 2017), was published as winner of the William D. Barney Chapbook Contest. Her latest collection, So Long As We Speak Their Names, poems centered around the Chesapeake Bay and those who harvest her, will be released in July from Bowen Books. Recent work has appeared in Chiron Review, I-70 Review, Paddock Review, San Pedro River Review, and The Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas. Ann has received seven Pushcart nominations.