Poem Illuminated by a Crow
The boy comes in, his limp hair starred with snow,
in tears because a neighbor wouldn’t play
his game. The window’s dark. A single crow
struts on a plane of white. What should you say,
should you console him, tell him it’s no loss?
Or that a life grows bright with losses, ripe
to splitting with them? Tell him it’s a toss-
up whether this one matters. Time will wipe
away its sting, or else he’ll sit up sweating
in the middle of the night for years,
remembering the neighbor’s face, forgetting
that there was a crow. You dry his tears.
by Hilary Biehl
Editor’s Note: This clever poem illuminates the difficulty of perspective—the boy lacks the adult’s knowledge, but the adult knows that knowing isn’t necessarily a comfort.
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