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Low Flying Crows

by Elizabeth Shaw


He rents the second story flat
in a brownstone along the river
that has seen brighter days.

It’s a sweet deal
at $650 a month
though who am I to say
being only the once a week sugar and not the everyday jazz
swinging open the French doors of summer

the conversate smells
wafting up from the café creperie below him
like rain shower dapplings on a tangerine rose
a gathering of bees
of like minded souls
percolating the water before shooting the falls.


Our relationship
is much like the love hate he has with his apartment
open concept or closed for the season
minus a spring in its step
there is no middle ground
the windows now tarped and taped with plastic
wind biting and bellowing through the sails.

In the winter here
the snowplow rules
early to rouse
grinding teeth
sweep the streets clean of tourists day and night
billeting guests
get ticketed
if they fail to move
their SU Vs

while the pipes from the third story apartment
have leaked blotchy age spots on the drop ceiling above him
who is on the phone crying to the landlord saying WE
gotta Pablum;

“The fire exit to the ground floor is my entrance
the toaster oven which is my sole oven is dead
and two ceiling tiles have crumbled like feta cheese in the bedroom
and YOU
gotta fix them


I look at
the bread
still lying naked on the plate from this morning
and think this is not going to go
down well

start counting the seconds before I'll be toast
thin skinned as a scarecrow
our match made in heaven
a muzzle loader hidden in its snowman

thinking I own
a pipe wrench I’m willing to loan
a six foot ladder
to silence the low flying crows
holding my baby hostage

knowing he’s bound
to get hungry again
break down as babies do
I trudge through slush
from the temporary car park six blocks over
hauling an overnight bag of hello sunshine
with never enough beer for the day and night
cross that bridge along the river climbing
up the narrow staircase to his apartment
to crawl into bed to peck his sour head
still wearing a black balaclava

thankful for age old fading vision
for straw men that don’t rattle for just anyone
and for landlords who put out (fires) for them.


Posted on 04/26/2015
Copyright © 2023 Elizabeth Shaw

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 11/21/15 at 04:03 PM

this poem is interesting to me in every way imaginable. it thralls me to know it is not linear and meanders where meandering is needed which is quite a tease, fore one happens upon the cherry on the tort. this ode is worth all the accolades I can pour. I miss your words. Wish you'd write more. You probably are, but aren't posting, for the obvious reasons, that there are so few commenters remaining on this Pathetic Block, and so, given efforts require retort, it is quite understandable why you don't. You have such a beautiful mind and soul, can your words other than follow suit?

Posted by Richard Vince on 03/31/22 at 06:31 AM

very visual; i felt i was right there. great stuff.

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