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What the Grackle Thinks

A barefoot woman scatters crumbs

in a corner of Walmart’s parking lot;

pigeons bobble her feet,

but I . . .


I perch the handle of a grocery cart,

black serge suit worn shiny,

hollow bones trickling enchantments

like flutes of indigenous gods.


Too small for crow, too large for starling,

I am a black opal –

bright yellow eye looking askance

at greedy, freeloaders.

I’ll bring on my raspy voice, raucous

and unashamed. Call out those puny

groveling birds. I’ll strut my strut!

I’m bold. Big, boisterous, bold!

Ann Howells edited Illya’s Honey for eighteen years. Recent books are: So Long As We Speak Their Names (Kelsay Books, 2019) and Painting the Pinwheel Sky (Assure Press, 2020). Chapbooks Black Crow in Flight and Softly Beating Wings were published through contests. Ann is a multiple Pushcart nominee.

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