Dzvinia Orlowsky

The Village Crow
November 18, 2020 Orlowsky Dzvinia

The Village Crow

The village crow knew everything—
whose sons fathered partisans,

guns like large broken wishbones
pressed to their chests,

which rooster lied,
confused death with rising,

which neighbor’s
hatchet would outlive him—

Water is the enemy!
Some claimed the crow was older

than the oldest oak.  Others swore
it was brought by the devil, one year,

to interpret the great war,
sleepwalkers and arsonists.

No one cared about angels anymore.
The crow had special tricks:

Before a hunter could lift his rifle
and blast the bird into a comet of feathers,

it could bring down enough rain
to rot the hay.  When it cawed,

the lake grew quiet,
clouds darkened the sky

covering the water’s surface.
Fish guessed their days were numbered,

hiding among swampy drapes.
But even a fisherman before casting his line

removed his hat and cried out in disbelief:
Does anyone recognize me?

Pushcart prize poet, translator, and a founding editor of Four Way Books, Dzvinia Orlowsky has published six full-length poetry collections including her most recent, Bad Harvest, a 2019 Massachusetts Book Awards “Must Read” in Poetry.  Her co-translations with Ali Kinsella from the Ukrainian of Natalka Bilotserkivets’s selected poems, Eccentric Days of Hope and Sorrow, (Lost Horse Press), was a finalist for the 2022 Griffin International Poetry Prize, the Derek Walcott Poetry Prize, ALTA’s National Translation Book Award in Poetry, and winner of the 2020-2021 AAUS Translation Prize.  Her and Ali’s co-translations from the Ukrainian of Halyna Kruk’s selected poems, Lost in Living, is forthcoming from Lost Horse Press in spring, 2024.  Dzvinia’s new poetry collection, Those Absences Now Closest, is forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon University Press in fall, 2024.