In memory of Miriam Patchen

when the crow and I are alone
life is much easier, he alights
onto my shoulder and listens
to the traffic as a crow must do
in order to survive

he keeps a list of other birds
on a tablet in his heart

I scream and the crow caws
I rage and the crow
ruffles his feathers

a people must understand
what is important
in the life of a crow

love is important
and thus I offer mine

a man and a crow

the crow and ceremonial song

come along and speak to the bird

he has a hallway of his own

he loves the gold chain
in his cage

he likes to come out and fly in his hall

one day he took me up to the sky

out of my window we soared

over the low fog

and the other crows gathered in flight


look into the mind of this universe
take your storage boxes and toss the souvenirs
into the sky

crow is not a god

crow is not a medallion

the crow is not a charm

he will look for seed on my open palm

he will roost on a branch of the cold tree

we sit around together

he wrote this poem in order to save himself

he looks for redemption

he says Miriam dear Miriam so long ago

now you are a plant in the window

the great talons of this crow

I feel his power when sleep comes
rushing into the room

the dark is like his feathers

I have seen the cruel white hand of night
and my forehead beaded in sweat


you know he rests
alongside all the crows imaginable

and they are beautiful
and primitive
just as we are, primal
and dangerous, heading forever toward disaster
this is what the fire is for
not only for warmth

here in the cold
it is possible to believe
that one may die a better way
not suffer so much
make it easy to disappear

the crow comes into the room

he flies into the room and I shut the window

dear Miriam there is a reason
and I have held it in hand

the crow is alive

“I say the drums are going like mad”

when the crow and I are alone

–March, 31, 2013

3 Responses to “WHEN THE CROW AND I ARE ALONE by Neeli Cherkovski”

  1. Neeli – Such a powerful and beautifully written poem. I love these lines:

    look into the mind of this universe
    take your storage boxes and toss the souvenirs
    into the sky

    Thank you,

  2. I was about to quote those same lines. I’ve a basement wall lined with storage boxes. All the years of correspondence re-enveloped and alphabetized. I have #2 of Laugh Literary in the Buk file from back when you were Neeli Cherry. Is there I way I can get it to you along with a large SASE for you to autograph? You are a major hero.

    Dan Nielsen

  3. Neeli hits the nail on the head yet again. Some very good images here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: