There they are, standing in the rain
on their corner of the playground,
giggling about strippers and itching under their jerseys.
Bony wrists poke from their outgrown sleeves.
The white wrists bead with frozen rain.
Suddenly an enormous crow appears, a hundred times life size.
This monstrous crow claps the tall one in its beak.
The crow ascends, the tall one its meat.
Soon they are a black speck in the gray sky.
Soon only gray sky.
On the playground, the others manage their amazement.
The redhaired one mutters, the little one hypothesizes.
The older one, the celebrated one, begins
“In my considered opinion…”
The tall one is never heard from again.
They grow up, as we all grow up. They are impressed
by the stochastic nature of art, of everything that isn’t art,
and heaven help you if you have to look up stochastic!
They are severe, they have been so hurt by early experience, yet they
come flying, superheroes to the rescue, whenever their cousins or mother
or upstairs neighbor is in the slightest doubt.
Once in a while, after a good dinner, they discuss the tall one.
They are always reminded of the harpies,
those ugly-breasted bird-monsters, half-starving, half-crazed,
destructive as the wind, who carried off the best men to the islands of shadow.
The tall one has become a legend, even a myth.
They discuss him at dinners, after the coffee, before the port.
It all happened so quickly. The rest will happen even quicker.
Art will flourish and they will flourish, until they are dead,
graveyard dead, and someday their tenderness will be bolder than their pride.
Kathleen Ossip’s latest book is The Do-Over, a New York Times Editors’ Choice.
Ladowich Magazine is available in the Apple Newsstand — https://t.co/bhbBwDr0F9 — offering just enough poetry and one longread a month. This poem appears in issue six, arriving in time to keep you company on your Thanksgiving travels.
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