What the crow brought, the girl kept.
A broken light bulb,
A piece of glass worn smooth by the sea,
A blue paper clip, a faded bit of black foam,
A heart of pearl.
Did the crow love her for herself alone?
Or did he love the gifts of dog-food,
peanuts tossed willy-nilly in the grass,
broken cookies saved from lunch?
She traded kibble for a crab claw,
poured fresh water from the goodness
of her heart.
Was their relationship ridiculous?
Was it reasonable?
When she moved away with her parents,
when she became a woman and found another mate—
this one of her own kind—
when the crow was a puddle
of feathers in the grass somewhere,
broken wing bones gleaming like the curved ribs
of a scallop shell and that obsidian beak
smooth and still, shockingly dark against a naked skull,
when she opened a plastic bag from her childhood
and discovered the iridescent heart of pearl,
did she remember standing in the dew
one August morning sharing a graham cracker
with her lover, the crow?
Lost Happiness and Lasting Pain
there is a world of childhood that is lost to everyone
and maybe it should be lost because that is the world
of nightmares seeming real, of waking in a hot
wet puddle, knowing your mother will be angry
and knowing that you can hide nothing
even if you pull the blanket over damp sheets until morning
there is a world of childhood where objects matter
because they have names, because you have given them
lives and stories that no grown-up understands
you were told to give them all away, your mother
threw them away, your father laughed
and you learned to reserve
your love for clothing, for cars, for boys
there is a world of lost teddy-bears and rag dolls
there is nothing in this world to replace them
there is a world of childhood where there is time
to read your favorite books over and over
next to a window that looks out into the branches
of a very old tree, into that world where things began
before you and you cannot imagine them
continuing without you
there is a world you can never regain
the world you miss
and never want to go back to
Tina Quinn Durham lives in La Frontera—the literal and metaphorical Borderland between the United States and Mexico. She received her MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry, from the Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. website