Ka Ka
Jack Butler

On the backside of Nagaoka wandering, you and I,
and came to the stone cemetery,
on our right, and grey, and grey stone and cement ranked
in levels over the grey wall
and all around otherwise the ratty and tattered streets,
the homes and shops
in corrugated tin and plywood, their fiberglass
awnings, yellow and luminous
with age and faint skylight.  So came
to the stone cemetery, grey, and dominated by crows
in the early waking hours, before
people had taken the streets, in the green trees
and on the grey stone everywhere
flapping and calling:  Ka Ka, which is
the Japanese for crow, calling intelligent
and arrogant and cruel.  And we saw
hop down a step, a piece of bread in his beak,
the black comedian, and saw him lay the morsel, and wait.
And when a sparrow, piping and bouncing, bit--

We ran after the black scramble beating its way
over the stone wall to the gravestones,
and lost it then, that flutter of screeching feathers caught up
in such ferocity.  And we looked at each other,
and didn't know what to say, two gentle lovers
in a stone cemetery
on a rainlit early morning in Japan,
so far away, so very far away.

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