Featured Writer Claudia Serea

The language of the crows

The Magic Circle by John William Waterhouse

Once I walked through a park
where all the trees were laden with crows,
hundreds of them, hanging
like black coconuts.

It was December.
My father was taking me to the train station
to go to Bucharest
where the revolution was raging.

I could hear the crows click and cackle
in the treetops,
cawing my name.

Did they know my trip
was a futile endeavor?

Did they know about the dead
in every city?

Did they gather
at funerals of their own,
chatting like old village women
who know everything?

Did the council of crows
protect the secrets they witnessed,
the location of the buried bodies,
and stolen treasure stowed away?

And, after 30 years,
do they have any prophecy
for this century?

Do they know where God
or justice are?

And are they trying to tell me something
when they take flight,
writing their dark letters
above street wires?

Is that a sign?


About the writer:
Claudia Serea’s poems have appeared in Field, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. She has published five poetry collections, most recently TwoXism, a collaboration with photographer Maria Haro (8th House Publishing, 2018). Serea co-hosts The Williams Readings in Rutherford, NJ, and she is a founding editor of National Translation Month.

Image: The Magic Circle by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917). Oil on canvas. 72 x 50 inches. 1886. Public domain.