Shirts or Skins, a 2014 poetry chapbook by Jim Redmond

Exegesis of Crow

The dove goes out and it comes back dutifully. The spirit of God descends like a dove, not like a crow. The crow is a going, not a coming back. The crow does not end in olive branches. The crow is unclean but beautifully and blackly so. The crow seeks out the carrion and stays there because of blind devotion, not because of duty. The crow does not call out after the third denial like the rooster, but hides itself within its own heart grown fat with the solemnity of worms, private worship, many cold stones the color of stillbirth. Crow as big as a bread box, packed full of plucked things. Crow as big as the hand spread open for Hamsa, wearing the tight hairshirt of itself, a bad little itch inside the larger scratch of a murder. Crow revisiting the biblical marginalia only once to poke out the eye of a thief. Crow—because things keep longer in the dark. The dove—erasure of light.


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