Crows Gathered at Sundown

by Matthew Johnson

It must be some instinctual sense 
That goes back to the days when they ruled the world as dinosaurs.
Caw-caws become rallying cries every day around this time of year,
When the day begins to slant into night, and it gets dark early.
It’s a gray day at the watering hole, and the murderous multitude of them,
Hop around in a huddle, conversing and bumping into each other,
Pecking the cold ground to see if there are any straggling worms from summer;
Rarely do they find bugs, having wrung this patch of Earth
Of its insects by the early days of autumn. 
One drags in its beak a slab of ice broken off from the adjacent fountain,
And several chase after the one who has the frozen shard in their mouth.
And while they mingle, or fly low in pursuit of the ice plunderer,
The concoction of caw-caws begins anew, and all at once, 
They take to the sky to perch on a nearby chapel’s tented roof;

The crows…

photo credit: Lilla Freirchs, public domain