John Short comes back to me in dreams.
His big, rough hands stoked coal fires
for moonshine days and drunken nights.
He used to say, “Sweet pea, them crows
sure are talking this morning.”
Sleek black feather-backs catching the sun.
Sharing words spoken in croaks and whistles;
They perch, four of them, talking away.
They might as well have spectacles and cigars.
Something moves at a distance—perhaps a hawk?
Four piercing stares as wind sends sweet gum
balls to the ground. They turn on their branches
and watch the sky, stopping conversation for just
this moment. Then, with great fluffing of feathers,
they resume their visit and crow stories.
Small pleasures for hard times.
John and I would watch together.
His suspenders frayed, collarless shirt
stained with rivulets of tobacco juice.
Broken down boots still standing.
This poem first appeared in the chapbook Just Down the Road (Finishing Line Press.)
Dee Stribling is a writer of prose and poetry. A Sundress Academy for the Arts poetry winner her work has appeared in 200 New Mexico Poems and other collections. Additional poetry chapbooks include Appalachian Picture Book (Finishing Line Press) and Down East Picture Book (Horse & Buggy Press). Work in-progress includes a childhood memoir and more poetry. Her documentary about “The Why Nots” softball team (with Minnow Media) is slated for release soon. You can visit her online at www.facebook.com/PoetDStribling.
Just Down the Road by Dee Stribling is available at: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/just-down-the-road-by-dee-stribling/