on the other side of this classroom window,
I see a small black crow
perched in a dead oak tree
on the highest branch he can handle
or that can handle him
Not that it matters.
If the branch breaks.
Sure, the Crack! might startle him
but he won’t fall.
No, he’ll just spread his wings,
float to another branch,
and be no more careful this time
than he was the last.
You’re free to fall when you can fly.
I sit and watch that crow
as he watches …
what … ?
You can’t really tell, not from here,
but something in the distance
draws his sharp eyes.
Every now and then he opens his beak—
to croak or cry or maybe just breathe—
I can’t tell—I can’t hear—
not through this glass.
for no reason I can see …
Pushes up from his white branch,
heavy wings waving up and down,
long legs dangling like a wasp’s.
I lean forward in my seat
to follow his flight
for as long as I possibly can.
But he quickly disappears,
and the teacher looks sharply
her sparrow-brown eyes flashing warning.
So I turn back toward her
and think about that crow,
while I sit
and sort of listen
and wish that I could perch on a bare branch,
ruffle black feathers
and fall into freedom.