A Woman Will Come
by James Silberstein
She’s gone three days now—to town, or to Mary’s, or to some hairy arms, maybe—possessed by whatever madness does.
I walk the mile and a half to check the empty mailbox.
The air welcome, a cold I can pretend for now is only on the outside.
I hear the caw before I see the black wings take off through the stand of dead oaks, long killed by mistletoe—after the kissing, it kills the tree. Whenever seeing it, I try to cut the parasite out with the chainsaw. But it’s too late for the scrubs on the other side of the highway.
No ordinary caw, replayed in the inner ear. Not an alert, nor assembly, certainly not a distress. More like talking, the way crows do when they tell you fate. Three years in northern India, a Tibetan woman taught me their language. After Crow was eaten by its shadow, it lost its sense of time—present, same as past and future.
Later, her pickup will raise dust.
I take her into my arms, repeat our drama—sweetness, humor, the restrained embrace trying to protect whatever tenderness we have left. Restraint gives way to passion, yields to lust, until I grasp and melt into her moment. We wake from dreamless sleep to irritation. The lack of direction way out here scratches and soon we’ll be screaming again. We’ll never be doves.
My heart the kind of thing only a crow would eat.