by Judy Richardson
Before eight in the morning
there is only myself in the park
and a dozen crows near the trail,
another thirty or so in the distance.
I like how sometimes a group
of them will burst like benign buckshot
from one tree to another, at last
settling in tiers on an oak, then
making a racket; how they will drop
to the ground afterwards and realign
themselves, close family members
I read once that when a crow dies,
its family forms a line, each member
stepping up to the body in silence.
They like to know what happened,
if there’s a lesson to be learned. No
lesson here, even a Frisbee won’t catch
crows off guard, and in the morning
they strut across the wide grass
like proprietors, the sun making
black jewels of their feathers.
The poems in the “New Poet” category were impressive and explored a wide array of themes. I enjoyed reading each and every one, especially in this category. I have a special place in my heart for new poets, because we all have to start somewhere. The third-prize poem “Crow Properties” is a wonderful nature poem and sustained my interest through each and every line. It opens our eyes to our complicated relationship with grief and our outer world.
Judy Richardson grew up in the Midwest but has lived in Eugene since 1967. She received an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1971 but now writes mostly poetry. She teaches memoir writing at Lane Community College.