by Lea Marshall
This field blossoms
Your name scratched
dust on green grass.
If a rabbit came here
if a rabbit sprang away
your name torn loose
from my closed eye
from its waking
Now, the evening the after the birth of the First Dalai Lama, bandits broke into the family’s house. The parents ran away and left the child. The next day when they returned and wondered what had happened to their son, they found the baby in a corner of the house. A crow stood before him, protecting him.
-His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet
Wind through lacebark pines
and the thick voices of crows.
My mother’s face filled the sky.
Roof tiles cracking under footfalls
—she turned her head
Footsteps running, shouting
the goat’s bell receding.
The birds came.
Warm behind a black wing
a voice like the stony path
gather the murder
soft scratching on my cheek.
My eyes closed, my fingers curled
into down. A firm fluttering heart
mirrored mine. She left me. My mother left.
All night the bird’s breath, its clawed,
careful steps sifted my rage into sand.
At sunrise the crow’s dark eye
and mine. The crow’s light spine
her voice ragged,
feathers graze the sky
tears down my cheeks, hers
My small breaths pour cool as water
over her parched and open hands.
The satellites that took Galileo
by the throat spin silently, looping
ellipses round Jupiter. They grin,
still, at their first observer’s
who doesn’t give a shit about some
and the subsequent human outrage.
She just relishes the tidal locking
that keeps her facing that gas giant,
flaunting her sulphurous volcanism
before his dizzy eye
Io’s volcanic ejecta produce a large plasma torus around Jupiter.
Teach you to wrap me in clouds and take what’s mine.
Leaves at the alley’s edge
curled round a dark penny
until a tall man passed,
listening for found things.
In his small wind the leaves
shifted, and at the scritch
he stooped to draw the penny
lightly from amongst them
then wrapped it in linen,
tucked it in his pocket.
As he gazed through a shop window
at knotted vines trailing flowers
across the blue field of a worn
carpet, the penny slid free,
dropped through a hole
into the lining of his jacket,
and began to sing to itself
there in the sifting darkness.
Later, he heard while walking
soft drifts of sound,
a hollow coppery voice
like a bird in a cistern,
felt the small weight of change
tapping his thigh and then,
as he passed a sidewalk filigree
of leaf-prints in concrete
his heart lifted a little,
like the grass.
Lea Marshall is an MFA candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is also Assistant Chair/Producer in the Department of Dance & Choreography. Her work has been published in Anderbo.com , diode poetry journal, and is forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review.