No one travels to this part of town anymore,
not since the 5:06 has been rerouted
and the filling station removed its pumps.
The sole radio station plays mostly static
cut with echoes of a distant broadcast,
the excitement of a local sporting contest.
Here it is all phantasmal and bleak.
I clearly hear the double screech overhead
and see proud brown wings flap in aerial attack.
Yet the underbird here, the smaller crow
caws loudly, like a chatty old woman
shouting out feats of raffish grandchildren.
This cackle draws an immediate response.
Black dots appear as if called out of thin air,
flying from distant branches to gather in force.
The twenty birds that populate the branches
of the early spring’s bare maple tree
understand how there is comfort in numbers.
Here below things are barely intact.
Unpainted shutters blow in the stiff breeze,
a morse code of lonely abandon.
The hawk screeches in final protest,
then flies away, defeated for now,
but reserving the right to fight again.
Down here, there’s far less promise.
Rumors say the schools will close soon
along with the remaining branch of the bank.
In this place, I crow and no one comes
to shake these surrounding branches,
to win this singular battle.
Author’s Note: This piece reflects what is happening to so many places across this country when industries abandon small towns and nothing comes to take their place. It is a disheartening battle, but a real one. Raising awareness is a start.