February 19, 2009

Jayne Pupek


You ask me to explain the livelihood of crows.
I say nothing, only point to the darkening expanse

above where birds saw holes in shapes
like themselves. We are all replicas, Jackson.

In the field, a man spreads manure on the ground
where white cabbages grow. I saw his face this morning,

tilted toward the sun, and he looked as if he felt gratitude
for his shovel of dung, his stretch of land.

In the evening, when you go back to your sick wife,
I won't quarrel. I'll stand at my stove and boil

one of the cabbages down to soup.
I'll look out my window and watch the red eyes

of your taillights disappear down the road,
while overhead, black crows divide the sky in half.

I'll return to the stove, drop in chopped herbs, and onion.
I'll put up my hair, wash my face, and go on.

Years later, when I think of you lying beside me,
I won't regret these things we've done.

—This poem first appeared in Stirring, 2008


Jayne Pupek is the author of the novel, Tomato Girl and two books of poems, Forms of Intercession and The Livelihood of Crows.

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