~montana crow~

~montana crow~

~cold montana~
~the outside edge of billings~
~a slow train chug-chugging down the tracks~

~boxcar graffiti clickity-clack~
~devil spawn death to Indians all~
~filthy drunken bastards~

~slashes & symbols~
~curse words & signs~

~the boy watching squinted his eyes~
~to better see & wonder if~
~it was wrong to read a sin to say~
~would his punishment be the same~
~if he confessed to reading & thinking~
~asked momma what they meant~
~words painted evil on a passing train~

~kids should be seen not heard~
~speak only when spoken to~
~a wayward tear blink ice tracks~
~winter war-paint on red cheeks~
~the boy’s grandfather was a half-breed~
~long dead momma said he was proud & ashamed~
~to be the son of an Indian woman & white father~

~would the message on the rolling billboard~
~have him slain wholly or in parts the boy wondered~
~daddy was a german~
~were there people sending messages up & down the tracks~
~suggesting those with german blood should be killed~
~he clapped his hands together~
~pleased that he could feel them~
~their fresh pain a sure sign they were~
~clinging in defiance~
~to the icy ragged edge of life~

~he walked in circles the boy~
~round & round the bumpy driveway~
~projecting its rock strewn winding shape~
~into white mountain range miniatures~
~a crystal projection of change beneath & everywhere~
~his dizzy shadow passed~
~the bare skin of a toe peeking~
~through a hole in the top of his shoe~
~warned him wet just before the bank of the ditch~

~the boy couldn’t swim then~
~a carrion crow called his name~
~perched atop & feeding upon~
~the putrid flesh of a rotting cow~
~blocking the flow or the irrigation ditch~
~alive in a sense as~
~mother dam to a pool of ice spreading~
~& sustenance to the occasional wandering scavenger~

~the boy gazed at the wet water freezing~
~what if he had skates like other kids~
~how sharp & deep are the blades~

~considering the less than likely was a waste of time~

~not now~
~the crow caw-cawed~
~blue black shining~
~ebon orbs its eyes seeing reflecting~
~more of him~
~than he would ever see himself~
~familiar & aware of the boy~
~in a sense deeper & wider~
~than human memory~
~instincts inherent~
~sensitive to danger~
~unimaginative in its flight through life~
~infinitely gifted with no sense of death~
~brainless mindless wireless~
~odds on survival when~
~a primordial switch is thrown~
~a scattered chaotic flash~
~the bird barked like a dog~
~its naked liver tongue~
~laughing hyena voice mocking~

~the boy smiled his understanding~
~pleased to have been chosen~
~pupil by the teacher~
~by the preacher~
~come speaking the whys of dark things~
~to a bright & promising neophyte~
~fearful but curious & prepared~
~to sample nuggets of knowledge buried~
~cold & deep beyond the reach of bone & wing~

~he bent down in the swirling snow~
~where it drift to lay at rest~
~to test its density~
~the possibility of welding its parts~
~together to make something quite different of it~

~he laughed in his boy voice~
~whistled a tune~

~green sleeves~

~the crow hop-hopped & cocked its head~
~while the boy whistled through the first chorus~
~while he pushed the snow~
~in a slow circling path through itself~

~by the time he finished green sleeves~

~to his delight~

~the boy had created three good-sized~
~(in his opinion) balls of snow~

~shiver freeze gone now~
~he had paid his due~
~received a blessed secret promise~
~in an ancient mother tongue~
~a new language to him~
~safe & solitary in his keeping~

~the crow performed a whistle mimic~
~of the green sleeves tune~
~paying & playing it back~
~the boy laughed respectfully~
~fell backwards into the fresh white bed~
~begging for seeking an angel~
~exhaling freeze-breath gasps of mist~

~the tortured corpse~
~in its irrigation ditch grave~
~robbed of its vengeance~
~its reeking cloud of stench~
~by the certain~
~in your face~
~cold guns of winter~
~its second death final defeat~
~its carcass a pulpit~
~to the strutting dark winged~
~stranger speaking~
~the carrion crow dining~

~vacancy sign flashing~
~motor court~
~fragile man-light hopelessly powerlessly~
~competing with the endless reach of montana sky~
~obscure & diminished~
~blink-blink dead as noon slid by~
~tonight the midnight would best it still~
~with a vast battalion of stars~
~led by the planetoid moon~
~second in charge faithful parody~
~eager & duty-bound to its master~
~to cast a reflection of the blazing inferno~
~of the singular one the sun but now~
~death in the window~
~notes the crow to the boy~

~the boy turned over carefully~
~got his pins under him calculatingly slow~
~dazzled by the ragged perfection~
~barren imperfection~
~his arms into wings~
~legs a gown~
~no halo etched~
~for a montana winter snow angel down~

~alas my love~

~the boy’s voice was ringing~
~singing again~
~begging its worth remnants a part~
~of one forlorn native american tear~
~death to all indians~
~the boy was aware in his weeping~
~afraid ashamed & alone~

~I wish someone would have saved us~

~he cried in a shrill child voice~
~that once wore him then~
~left him orphaned behind~

~he dares a peek over the top of daddy’s old car~
~parked in front of the door~
~kitchenette #3~
~a quick glance & scan of the cracked black window~
~where her face~

~I have loved you oh so long~

~was cut last night when daddy hit her~
~she went falling down~

~delighting in your company~

~daddy stopped & helped her up~
~pressed his fingers against her face~

~go to bed~

~she said softly to her boy~

~& goodnight~

~he joined his brothers & sisters on the couch~
~feet to face to wiggly toes~
~he counted four & himself~
~shadow lumps five on the edge of light~

~the husky sound of daddy’s voice~
~cursing his luck~
~apologetic for having caused~
~‘the accident’~
~the murmur sound of momma lying down~
~her voice a quiet whisper~

~it’s okay~
~I know you’d never hurt me on purpose~

~the frame of the bed tapping its~
~rhythm slower at first then in sync~
~with the country western radio~
~stand by your man~
~galvanized rhythm~
~needy & greedy~

~the boy closed his eyes on the window~
~turned his head in hope to engage the crow~
~it was gone~
~having risen from its dead creature pulpit~
~he blinks his eyes~
~it was gone~

~if I had wings & a song to sing~

~the boy’s voice was an octave deeper~
~than in its previous plaintive echoes~
~vanished in ebony pearl eyes~

~the boy had intended to build a snow fort~
~something deeper than montana~
~hinted his spirit~
~a fort would require many more balls of snow~
~the sacrifice of the body of his angel~

~I have loved you so long~

~he sang & maybe someone would notice someday~
~he’d buy an elvis cadillac for momma~
~she’d be driving & laughing~
~taking her children away~
~bringing them home~

~delighting in your company~

~the boy shaved ‘em round~
~his roly-poly balls of snow~
~stacked ‘em up~

~frosty the snowman~

~digging stones~
~for eyes nose & mouth~
~difficult with indistinct feeling in his fingers~
~he realized he should stop~
~walk across the circle drive~
~past the window & through the door~
~of #3~

~stand by your man~

~he was determined to finish~
~chase that song away~
~the snowman stared back at him~
~from awkward stone pointy eyes~
~a rotted carrot from the motel garbage nose~
~he pulled out one of its coal teeth~
~shoved it black & oily into his trouser pocket~
~stuck a cigarette butt in its mouth~
~took a step back~
~cast a dispassionate fixed stare upon his creation~
~the angel without a halo made sense~
~but something was missing on the snowman~

~the boy recalled a few days ago~
~daddy had thrown one of his worn out work hats away~
~he returned to scavenge the garbage where he’d found the carrot~
~sifted through three days of motel trash & found it~
~he crawled out of the trash bin with his prize~
~whacked it against his legs a couple of times~
~to get off some of the chicken gizzard juice & grease~

~he was pleased as he gazed upon the brutal scattered face of the snowman~
~out of sync equal to frozen wild montana~
~the boy decided to leave the face as it was~
~he wondered if an accident would~
~make a face appear as wicked~
~he set daddy’s old hat on its head~
~shivering & unsure of his footing~
~colder now & fiddling too much~
~he couldn’t seem to get it right~
~daddy wore his hat off to one side~
~cocky & down over his eyes~
~he got a firm two-handed grip on the brim of the hat~
~tugged it forward & to the left down~
~there it was perfect daddy~
~his hat turned the trick~

~the boy used a single finger to carve out~
~a heart in the snowman’s breast~
~he placed tiny stones around its edges~
~he walked over to the ditch~
~pulled a bloody fence slat from the dead body dam~
~turned in a circle dizzy down next~
~on one knee bent~
~planted a single ice skeleton kiss~
~on the forehead of the angel~

~he rose to face the snowman~
~whose hat it had become~
~plunged the verminous bloody sword~
~wooden through the black of its icy heart~

~the boy felt warm & alive~
~in the safe embrace~
~of the desolate bovine beast~
~grateful for its gift of sustenance~
~safe in its mother heat thawing~
~wherever the boy’s flesh met hers~
~the cow in the ditch safe in death~
~frostbite tingle toes & fingertips~

~he’d have to go in pretty soon~
~momma had to go to work~
~daddy to the bar~
~creature ritual~
~he contemplated its shadow~
~the snowman approaching~
~stealing sunlight~
~displacing it dark & cold~
~when it reached his huddling form~
~he would go inside to babysit his siblings~
~hug momma goodbye~
~hide the rusty old knife he had pulled from the carcass~
~under the tutoring eyes of the crow~

~the student would wait~
~keen to learn~
~to chase fear away~

Inquiries: tracy@traceliteraryagency.com & wordwulf@wordwulf.com
©artwork, words & music performed & conceived by
property of
Tom (WordWulf) Sterner©


About wordwulf

wordwulf@gmail.com website: http://wordwulf.com
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