Near the bottom of the street a crow’s nest
rests high in a linden. A loose stick tap-
tap-taps in the wind that oboes its moan
through October evening eaves. That wind wept
rain all day into the nest and through it
to fall on the house below, this construct
derived as a function of time, need, luck.
As to who entered here to pace or rest,
do we need or want to know? Decrepit,
dark-curtained, shuttered—the slouched roof a map
of rusty-green moss, with black feathers swept
into crevices—someone called it home.
Perhaps the roof’s topographical zones
code, by moss shades and heights, the secrets tucked
beneath, or the undreamed dreams that have slept
long among restless particles of dust
a sun might show if it could pry a gap
into shutters and curtains, rend and split
the dark within—if such dreams could permit
light and warmth to settle flesh around their bones.
No. Light could only show how shadows lap
with eager tongues from corners, into ducts,
leak damp cold to spread and pool around chests
of drawers where rings and locks of hair were kept.
The crows have flown the nest. And no one steps
beneath the linden. The dogs do not shit
where its leaves impress wet earth—faint, pale crests.
Only that stick moves here, a clock unowned
and wound by wind. It ticks on, ineluct-
able, the escapement is gravity’s trap.
When tonight you feel autumn’s first cold snap,
hear the knuckle-cracks as it mulls precepts
of winter drafted in skewed lines of flux
striating thin-skinned puddles, will you let
October’s wind breathe its bold treble tones
into your lungs and linger in your chest,
stand in this west wind and try to adapt
to its murmurs of those you’ve known who’ve leapt
away across night’s cryptic viaduct?