By Cleopatra Mathis
How far did she fly to find
this pristine town on the edge of winter?
Crows have set up their kingdom—
a yacking flock louder than traffic
maims the morning air.
Day sends the coven screaming
in pursuit, black rags
haggling from clump to clump
of the decorous elms and oaks.
The dog's mouth hangs.
I follow his gaze through the shudder
of limbs to the still source, the center
of their flapping. The barn owl
commands a branch, the crows scatter
and aim, cutting around her
placid weight, something more of earth
than air. She stares straight ahead
as if focused on something she alone
can hear, their outrage at who she is
no more than a furious snipping,
until in one motion, she heaves upward,
her body transformed by sky.
The crows gloat, their battering
closes her path, and she misses a beat,
stumbling in the air
like a silence disrupted. The crows'
fat riot, their mine, mine, mine
rules the sky. Call the owl
sadness, the one who watches
from the other side.
I got to spend the day with dementordelta, whom I missed last week because she had a work crisis and nearly missed this week because she had a cold, but she came up here anyway! We wandered into some stores to see if they had Halloween stuff yet (Bath & Body Works has lots, Claire's and The Icing has some -- plus penguin "Best Friend" necklaces -- and Yankee Candle has a bunch but I forgot to take her there). Then we got crepes and came back to my house to watch the entire series run of Sherlock. She liked it better than I did -- I was even more irritated this time through at the frequent sexism, ethnic stereotyping, and gay jokes that had tipped by the final minutes from cute and slashy into unnervingly homophobic, though I really like the performances -- both major and minor roles -- and the chemistry among the actors.
Of course we also watched a bit of Due South while my kids came home from school and reported on their days -- Paul worked from home since his van's air conditioning is not working. Daniel has his high school's legendary math teacher for multivariable calculus and his only complaint was that the bus was overcrowded, though tomorrow I have to take him shopping for 1) gym shorts and 2) some kind of adhesive at Home Depot. Adam is still trying to switch out of the Microsoft Office class into pretty much anything else and theater is still his favorite subject, though he liked English better today because he got to talk about how much he thinks Jane Austen sucks. We all watched Warehouse 13, where I am hoping they're planning to make Wells a regular after the mid-season break; I liked getting a bit of backstory on Artie, but didn't think the episode was all that well-written, though the preview for next week looked like great fun.
Happy September! Above is another poem by Mathis, whom I can't believe I'd never heard of before two days ago; I found her first book and it's wonderful. Her most recent book, which I haven't tracked down yet, is White Sea...speaking of which, our weekend plans are on hold until Hurricane Earl decides which way it's going, though it sounds like if it hits the DC area it will be on Friday and hopefully will get rid of this Code Red air. To go with the poem, here are some more photos from the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, including a keeper feeding a bird, a sleepy tree sloth, and an owlet in the infirmary with a heart problem: