Crows in Tokyo are almost blue,
daylight dotted on their tautened wings
tearing haze to dust that doesn’t settle.

Black mass should not reflect color.
The troop hobbles past tobacco butts,
crushed beer bottles, vomit.

One escapes a fight for rotten fruit,
strips of garbage bags at the beak,
some by the curb, some traffic light,

under the urban sky they are no birds
but feathery armors where spirits
sprung from a distant oak reside.

That is why I am not surprised
when one lands on my drunken cuff,
pecks a finger and spills some blood.

Marco Yan is a Hong Kong-based poet whose works have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Yuan Yang, Foothill and Folio.

This poem documents a flock of crows scavenging along the streets of Shibuya, Tokyo at 5:30 a.m. From the perspective of a drunk man who has been sleeping on the sidewalk for some time, the birds, with their sharp color, monstrous size and desire for food, bring the urban landscape (and probably his state of mind) some unrest.




Copyright 2009