Where you see COVID, I read corvid ever since a one-footed crow, imposing, totemic and gleaming black, came into my life, my only reliable companion in the pandemic. If a collection of crows is a murder, mine appears innocent. Is it true that crows hold funerals? What’s clear is they feel absence. We have that in common.
Now, I have two crows, like Rumi’s two hands:
If it were always a fist or always open,
You would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small
Contracting and expanding,
The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
Daily, my crows crisscross the alley sky, rapid shadows in the corner of my eye. I see their flight reflected in my glass coffee table, like Odin’s two ravens, “thought” and “mind.” The Norse god with only one eye relied on Huginn and Muninn as spies and advisors. My crows will never sit on my shoulders or whisper in my ear. They’ve never even brought me a shiny trinket, although René(e) once left a cookie on my railing, which I took to be a gift until it disappeared. Still, I worry when I don’t see René(e), just as I worry when I meet a neighbor in the elevator who like me is hungry for exchange, for a peek behind the mask.
Brandel France del Bravo is the author of Provenance (a Washington Writers Publishing House poetry prize winner) and the chapbook Mother, Loose (Accents Publishing, Judge’s Choice Award). She is co-author of the parenting book, Trees Make the Best Mobiles, Simple Ways to Raise Your Child in a Complex World, and editor of the bilingual anthology, Mexican Poetry Today: 20/20 Voices. Her poems and essays have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, the Cincinnati Review, Conduit, The Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, Poet Lore, the Seneca Review, and elsewhere. She has been the recipient of several artist fellowship grants from the Washington, DC Commission on the Arts, which also awarded her the Larry Neal Writers’ Award in poetry. She teaches a meditation program developed at Stanford University called Compassion Cultivation Training.