Crows Trilogy ( three poems about ME/CFS)

The Crows Trilogy

Not just any Hem

My throat is bound by the claws of a thousand crows,
offered to Dracula as a final feast before dawn cracks the day.
Mute for three years, I scribed non-sequiters onto tablets,
I still cant empty my backlog of words,
say all Ive wanted to say.
Like Roosevelt, I tread softly, carry a big stick,
lest the crows try to silence me again.

Ive become a rag doll.
My legs wobble this way and that.
I knock over cereal boxes, glass elephants,
trip over unsteady feet.
The room turns,
but Frodo has pocketed the ring.

Ive taken no nuns vows for silence
or self flagellation. Chastity, either.
Pass me a hem to kiss.
With luck, Ill take up this bed and walk.


And when the crows return,
they bear the body of my dead lover
in his terrible beauty on their wings.
Feverish, I drape him in cloth, like the Egyptians,
prepare for reburial, but he grasps my arm.

We whisk through that bend of time,
where then, now and whatsoevershallbe all flow.
Beneath us, pyramids rise from the backs of slaves,
only to crumble into the desert again.
Dinosaurs thud through the ferns, disappear.
We watch the great floods from past and future
transform our planet into turgid waters
and gnawed grass, grey windstorms vacuuming
up the stench of dead dogs and men.

The crows lift us higher.

Overcome, I kiss my lovers cold lips.
Scales fall from my eyes and the gift/
horror of Seer is mine.
The crows laugh, flap away.

My face burns in the scorched air.
My palms bleed.

Daily Bread

Crow man, fearless leader of that bipolar clan,
comes to me nights when my insomnia is worse,
wings spread like a crossbow from his feathered body.
He tells stories about whales that swam once
in the great Wadi Hitan, killer toads, big as cantaloupes,
three-foot-tall men living among the Cro Magnon.
He speaks of Black Eve, black as his renegade friends,
rising from the birthing pool to lend us her genes.
He says mystics, not paleontologists
will write the true story of Evolution.

When I finally half doze, he lifts me,
tenderly as a lover might, wakes me at the Akashic Records.
He points to my illness as a dot, a comma
in my ongoing book of life.
If I can erase the comma I'll be healed, I reason.
We leave before my eraser can reach.
I try to seduce him, convince him by my sex
to give me THIS DAY my daily bread.
He won't be fooled.
Your bread feeds the multitudes, he whispers,
rises silently into the crow-filled night.

Pris Campbell

Published in Chiron Review 2009


pris, these poems are achingly beautiful! they pull me in...and compel me to read them - over and over. thank you,
you are a treasure! i just found your sea trails (which im getting!)...and also listened to song of the wadi hitan, night moon etc. wonderful! again, thanks
(btw...i found a sculptress last year who works in a very tiny scale....she had a trio of lovely crows (complete with a nest and speckled eggs the size of tiny pearls)....i now have that "murder" of crows on a little table near my bed - where i can see and touch them on the bad days. i'll do the same with your poetry!) j
Edgar Allen for sure, which is why I probably like it. Creepy, dark and dismal...interesting.

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