Outside, two men I pronounced dead visit as crows
on telephone wires. Their voices as soft as a morphine dose.
Parking lot pines don’t mind returning as pines. Then, a third death.
A woman I find in a Murphy bed under a skylight. Her eyes absorb an
unprocessed snapshot of stars arranged two thousand years ago.
I thought about the spaces the dead occupy, like my friend
whom I did not pronounce, though I felt her pulse wane
while my ear pressed against her chest. I can’t find her.
One crow is an old man. Now a younger man with my friend’s eyes
is a crow in the space of a few hours. The sky’s shedding its skin.
A woman is waiting for me to look for signs of life. This one
may not have let go living yet. So I do this for her. Stall.
Keep her family occupied. Give her time to leave. Tuesday morning
another pine carves a black swan into its bark while six hawks hold up the sky.
Eileen Cleary is a graduate of Lesley University’s MFA program and earned a second MFA at Solstice. She is a recent Pushcart nominee and has work published or upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, J Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, Nixes Mate, West Texas Literary Review and Main Street Rag. She edits the Lily Poetry Review and manages The Lily Poetry Salon. Her first full-length manuscript, ‘Child Ward of the Commonwealth’ is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Press in Spring 2019.
Image, “Specifically Fond” —C. Ventre