Pamela Sumners

Things The Crow Knows

The crow knows all the old sayings

from all the ancient arguments,

knows “as the crow flies” is just

a mismeasurement of is


God knows the crow watches

fallen calves outside the fences

chased away for cleft palates

or they just ran off too curious

about the dirt-feel of the logging road

and God know the crows prayer—

circle the cows when the calves

come home limp over fieldhand’s arms

and all the cows gather to mourn

in low and indecipherable tones.


The crows square off against the man

at the fence, mocking his property sign,

making him fear to enter what he posted

to keep out. The shiny-eyed crows

keep vigil, impervious of warnings

against trespass, sentinel themselves

until the cow eulogies are spent.


The crow knows that God knows

they are innocent of murder and man

reviles his kind without cause. The crow knows

God gave him, as an apology for winter,

atonement for our superstition, the sweet

mysterious ability to fly straightaway 


heavenward, home.  


Pamela Sumners' work has been published or recognized by about 30 journals or publishing houses in 2018-20 in the US and abroad. A 2018 Pushcart nominee, she was selected for both the 2018 and 2019 64 Best anthologies. Her first chapbook, Finding Helen, traces her mother's mental illness and institutionalization in Tuscaloosa's infamous Bryce facility and is forthcoming from Seven Kitchens Press. Her first full collection, Ragpicking Ezekiel's Bones, is expected from UnCollected Press this summer (COVID willing). A native Alabamian, she now lives in St. Louis.

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