‘Crow Knows’: A Poem by Jay Erickson

 In ALIVE, Poetry

Crow Knows

i had to sleep for years,
to live inside the earth
until i found the root of
what was stolen

i have become the gun

squeezing my heart
through the barrel
of this brush

blue and
green and purple
shadow and light

i will not be silenced
i have too much to say
like just how

Crow knows
to become a dove

to use the dark alchemy
of grief until it blooms and
raises us skyward

lifting me until my head unfolds
in rainbow imagination

leave me with the birds to
sing of wet moss and air

heaven and earth
rock and feather

every tree, every leaf
every flower, every stalk
fed by the white filament quilt
of dreams running
through the ground, licking
these diamonds and rubies
into the light

Crow knows

he has always travelled the
ruthless lines between
above and below

once upon a time
he was Rainbow Crow
whose radiance
put Peacock to shame
who sacrificed his color
to the sun  

but kept the secret

when the light is right
you can see the
iridescent blue
in his black feathers
that heals all wounds

Crow murmurs these
paintings to me and
i whisper them to you

i did not know my mouth had wings

we have come to tell the story
we have come to remember
we have come to set you free


This poem was inspired by the artist Mariam Paré. Paré was featured in ALIVE’s print magazine in 2017.

Read more poetry by Jay Erickson. Read our interview with the poet.

Photo courtesy of Yannis Papanastasopoulos.

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