A strand of tiny bleached vertebrae hang like pearls
around the crone’s sagging neck
each bone collected from a Montana forest floor.
Stones from Montana rivers line her linen apron pockets,
always cool against her knotted fingers’ skin.
Pieces of shell and feathers twist through her spindly white braid.
She sings songs of redwing blackbirds
and caws into summer’s long-stretched day.
Filaments of time tie her voice
to molecules of still sticky air.
As the crone listens,
a cardinal lands high in a sycamore tree
and lightning bugs begin their dance
reminding her of life’s boons.
A single crow circles,
screaming its beware to all who believe in evil.
Watching its art,
the crone lifts her face,
“Caw! Caw! Caw!”
Back and forth they call,
and the crone laughs, low and deep
settling herself on the banks of Riley Creek
where she knocks on Earth three times for good health
merging her cells with the gloaming.
A row of rodent bones catches her eye;
vertebrae winking white through dark swaying grass.
Brenda Warren 2013
Visit The Sunday Whirl.