For Crows and Old Men

By Denise DiMarzio

The same cloth has lain for years over the table in the kitchen where he sits in a white T-shirt, his chin greasy from gnawing the chicken crooked in the hollow between finger and thumb, bones piled on a tin pie plate, light outdoors fading from yellow to dark, the trees going black, wheeling crows blacker still, the beat and whir of black wing. These days he sits at the table, listens for the sound of a wing beating nearby, the birds perched in a maple outside the second floor kitchen window, their beaks sometimes tapping at the pane, crows waiting for their meal, their own hunger gnawing a place under their sleek feathers, the morning a yellow memory, the empty hollow of their bones sounding a muffled note in his ears, sounding in his gnarled finger bones, his hands gone numb now. His arms pull up at the elbow, crook like the wing of a bird. He glances towards his wife's empty room, painted yellow just weeks before her death, the quiet of the neat kitchen moving through the rooms, simple longing gnawing a place under his ribs, where his heart beats strange beats. He waits for the crows to come and he feeds them on bread and chicken bones. The crows approach, tapping their beaks at the window, scenting chicken bones and bread, scenting their own kin blood, green cloth over the table, a gnawing at the mind of a man whose days have gone by, the days of slicked hair and fedoras, wing tip shoes and a car, always a brand new car. His mother cooked him pasta in the kitchen, the house with a pear tree and a rose arbor and an exterior yellow. His brothers went to war. One returned whole but drunk, the other with one arm, the yellow exterior and yellow kitchen the same, despite D-Day, despite rations and blackouts and crows waiting on the tips of maple trees. His mother cooked spaghetti with clam sauce in her kitchen and he watched while her women friends, her commadres, ate it, their black dresses and bones long ash now in the cemetery where his wife also lies, where a place awaits him, where a wing or a prayer or an angel wait to carry him, to free him from the waiting and the gnawing of memory. The sharp tapping of beaks starts the gnawing again. Shadows of feathers float across yellow bedroom walls, over his face falls the shape of a ragged wing quickly passing. It's the sharp caw of crows that startles him, the strange shape of old bones piled on a plate on the green cloth in the kitchen. At day's end the gnawing grows. He waits for the crows in silence at the table near the yellow bedroom. He shifts the bones while a swift wing sounds echoes through the house, on the walls, in the kitchen.
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , , . Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

About Denise DiMarzio

Denise DiMarzio is, among other things, a native Rhode Islander, gardener, whistler, stargazer, and writer. Her poems and essays have appeared in The Norman Bird Flyer, Friends Journal, The Providence Journal, Echoes of Mercy, Crone’s Nest and the long-lost and much-missed Hurricane Alice: A Feminist Quarterly. She can be found sitting near a tree somewhere.

5 Comments

  1. Jamie Waters
    Posted January 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    You and the tree, the crows and through the looking glass this man at his table — a splendid woodcut, Denise Dimarzio.

    • Denise
      Posted January 2016 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      Your comment really made my day, Jamie Waters. Thank you so much.

  2. Posted July 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    superbly told. The transitions and changes are beautifully managed. Waiting for the crows in silence as a metaphor for the times he waits for death in solitude, the inevitability of his fate assured by his surrender to it. Well done indeed.

  3. Posted August 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Transcendental !

  4. Posted February 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Hi,
    I am Mehedii Hasan, Just found this poem. And Loved it.
     
    Thanks!

Post a Reply to Mehedii Hasan Cancel reply

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

  • In The Latest Issue

  • Browse by Genre

  • Archives

    open all | close all