by Doug Van Gundy

Darker than the blackbird and the starling, darker
than the startling plunge into night before the evening
has even gotten going, darker than even the morning cinders

of last night’s fire, cold and wet with dew. The crow
absorbs light, gives back nearly nothing
save the sooty cough of his cry.  It’s a sound like music

to me.  Crows gather in their hundreds in my yard, 
cacophonous clouds of them, settling to roost, fruiting 
the limbs of the Norway spruce, then sleeping silent. 

Or so I suppose. The tree is always empty before daybreak.

Doug Van Gundy directs the low-residency MFA writing program at West Virginia Wesleyan College. His poems, essays and reviews have appeared in many national and international publications, including Poetry, The Guardian, and The Oxford American. He is co-editor of the anthology Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Contemporary Writing from West Virginia and the author of a collection of poems, A Life Above Water and two chapbooks, The October Poems and Pictures & Poems, a collaboration with photographer Matt Eich.