Crow-like with jagged wings
death plunges from a cobalt sky
from where he etched his circle year on year
suspended with certainty, for all men die.
Constricted in its swathe, the metabolic tick
can only slow, the spring unwind and slack;
the crow, high on a wheel of spinning cloud
beats patiently his shrouds of rainbowed black.
Your time is marked somewhere around death’s face;
the sweeping hand will pause, its shadow fall
dark as the crow’s wing, terror slowly bleed
into the deepest darkest place of all;
in raucous rasp crow-song breath will cry
then shriek to silence as the hand sweeps by.

There’s no experience for this, in life,
no learning curve, no seminar or class;
ceremony takes over, tall black hat,
cold white face behind cold glass.
He comes in scream of pain, or silent sleep,
or in the street the smell of petrol round,
the heat of fire, the miasmic smoke of fear,
the taste of dirty water for the drowned.
He comes with span as wide as one small life,
the eyelash of his ragged wing folds back
drains the breath of breathless years
and wraps a lifetime in its endless black.


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