Crow’s Final Frontier

The rains headed off over there
where the old poplar trees threw their wild shadows across me,
a child, with my school bag, midst the crows,
my friend Abbas on his bicycle.
I asked these questions –
Why? Why? When? Where? How? How?
Please don’t put out those black flags of mourning,
they’d spoil this lovely scene
Pain only brings loneliness
and starts us
on roads that take us a long way from all we’ve known,
like here where sunset fades the walls, makes the sky ugly
and the roads lead nowhere.
Why? Why?
I want to be a child again,
to clear the streets of snow, handful by handful,
to turn away from the blackboard – When?
to dust myself down with chalky fingers.
I was happier balancing on top of your knobbly knees,
to reach the apples at the top of the tree
happier than I am, standing here now, a woman – Where?
Hair shorn,
sliding back down a snake,
until someone brings a ladder,
I am teetering on the very edge,
facing the direction those rainclouds took,
with no old friends like Abbas passing along this street – How? How?
Dial the number for No Man’s Land
‘This is the final frontier of crow territory,
Please leave a message after the caw.’