A week ago, that tree was thick with crows
filling the branches with shadow. Suddenly --
perhaps the wind shifted, carried frost on its back
like an omen -- they scattered, rising
as smoke signals against January sky.
This is where I should say I thought of flying,
saw it for what it is: a trick of courage, surrender to wind.
I cannot know the philosophy of birds, do not know
if they see flight as anything other than a method of movement,
or if they come to it as to a dance, overcome
by the rush through their feathers as they duck and glide
on the currents. Any other day, I might have felt
the pull of migration, an ability to beat gravity.
But it is already late January, that time when best intentions
shift back to old habits, as easy as slipping into a favorite dress,
the way the cotton knows to settle against my hips.
A week ago, that tree was thick with crows.
Today, ice hangs like fingers, pulling branches
downward, and all I can think is that I, too,
know the weight of winter, have felt myself bend
to that point just before breaking, my body arched
toward the ground.
You see, it is only January, and too soon to think of flying.