We move between two darknesses
      — E.M. Forester

At first it was the crows
on the checkerboard lawns,
while the block slept.
So still the earth had stopped
its spinning under the grip of talons.
The birds’ shrill cries erupted
like a fury of Yemenite tongues
ululating at a funeral.
A lash of wings over the city.
They must be emissaries of the Angel of Death
entombing the sky in their black greatcoats,
then choosing a street to pluck from.
Cancer twice in the odd numbered houses.
Neighbor children used to be safe here.
Now they cross to the other side
and back again in uncertainty,
as if such a curse were catching,
while today out early to pluck dead petals,
I walk blindly into a smothering of crows.

Carol Davis
CAROL V. DAVISs poems have appeared in New American Review, Mid-American Review, Bellingham Review, South Dakota Review, etc. and anthologies, including Nice Jewish Girls. A chapbook, Letters From Prague, was published in 1991. She spent 1996-97 as a Fulbright scholar in St. Petersburg, Russia, where  her second book, It's Time to Talk About..., was published in 1997 in a bilingual edition. She teaches at Santa Monica College in California. A new chapbook, The  Violin Teacher, is forthcoming in November 2005 from Dancing Girl Press.