Black Crow across Green Trees
by Barry North
For Rosemary Diaz North (1919-2006)
Death could not touch your legacy.
Like a black crow flying across green trees
it could no nothing but enhance your beauty.
And yet, I wonder, is there something deeper,
something universal in the symbol.
The old timers, like my grandfather, could have told me.
They understood the manifestations,
knew how to read the signs.
But those days,
like their superstitions,
are gone forever.
Black cats on Friday the thirteenth
no longer strike panic in the heart.
No one tosses salt over his shoulder
to ward off the seven years of bad luck
coming at him like a runaway freight train.
Science and modern medicine have long since
made fools of mystery and witchcraft,
leaving me empty handed here.
Yet something tells me
I may not be far off in thinking
it could be the voice of God,
like the Reverend Sykes in To Kill a Mockingbird,
telling us to pause …
someone of value passed today.
Barry North is a 66-year-old retired refrigeration mechanic in Hahnville, Louisiana. He’s also retired from St. Charles Parish Public School system and has won the 2010 A. E. Coppard Prize for Fiction, Honorable Mention in the 2011 Allen Ginsburg Awards and received a Pushcart nomination. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Paterson Literary Review, Slipstream, The Louisiana Review, The Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Dos Passos Review and others. This poem has never been published.