Fall 2009, Volume 7

Poetry by Rich Ives

The Generosity of the Crow

I’m scuttering down the road thinking of a hummingbird’s heart
and the pink and still pink and pink again of the budding cherry

stained with that faintest memory of sunrise to keep it from
perfection, when I see a young girl selling comic books by the roadside.

Her sign says Help Hunger People Indoneesa and I’m hungry so I buy
Woody Woodpecker soup and Batman grape juice and Wonder Woman pie

and I tell her how impressed I am with her generous spirit and she says,
“I like to help people eat more,” and I’m sorry to say she’s overweight,

maybe desperate for attention, and she adds, “Anyway, they’re my
brother’s and my sister’s. They won’t even notice they’re gone.

They’re in the army now, and I think they might be killing somebody.”
I don’t have a clue what will really make her happy, but a crow tries

to lift a rabbit from the ditch where something has been eating it,
and he can’t make it. He calls for backup, and the young girl smiles

as three more crows arrive to pick apart the rabbit, squabbling over
the choicest pieces, and the girl laughs and says, “He’s my lover,”

and giggles in a high-pitched rattle between her braces that sounds
like it came from a ratchet. The crow stares. He doesn’t know

how much to offer and neither do I. Another ratchet and she asks,
“Are you too?” I roll up my comic books, remembering my wife’s

crooked grin, and head for my unreliable transportation while
the answer pounces on all the complicit creatures left behind.


BIO: Rich Ives has published poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and translations in numerous magazines including North American Review, Verse, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Virginia Quarterly Review, Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review and many more. He plays fiddle, dobro, octave mandolin and a number of more obscure instruments and once made part of his living making cheesecake though he now teaches creative writing at Everett Community College just north of Seattle.