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One Good Thing
by Catherine Klatzker

I hear the tree-trimmers
before I see them. Workmen
in fluorescent lime green
jackets and bright blue
helmets position traffic cones
in the street, already raising
one worker in the squeaky
cherry picker, ready to slash.

Heart racing, unsure if the tree
with the new crow’s nest will
be spared, I slip into my shoes
and face mask and speed down
to the street—to what? To stop the
timber slaughter? I did not imagine
myself as tree monitor and bird
protector this day. It seems
frivolous. I know it is not.

There is so much needless death
and destruction in this world. Maybe
not today for this crow family.

The tree-trimmer axes branch after
branch from the neighboring palm
trees. He sways closer to the nesting
Corvus, ready to hack. Two crows
instantly sweep up and circle above
his head. The mulcher devours
fallen palm fronds as the defeated
worker descends to the ground.

The crow pair has not dived
at the worker, nor vocalized,
but it is well known that crows do
not forget a face. They will
remember a dangerous person’s
face and get the word out.

All night, I watch for the crows’
return, alert for swooping wingspan,
their flapping plunge. I anticipate
my joy when they reappear.
All night, the sky is empty.

At daybreak, one crow drops
gingerly onto an upper palm
branch, a ramp to her rugged
nest. I hold my breath as she
inches her way down, slow
as parched creek mud, and
in the pale dawn she reenters,
home.

PHOTO: Mother crow feeding her nestlings by Sally Wynn from Pixabay.

Klatzker

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catherine Klatzker is the author of You Will Never Be Normal (Stillhouse Press, 2021). She lives and writes in California in a fourth-floor condo that resembles a tree house. Her prose and poetry have appeared in mental health anthologies as well as a range of other publications, including Atticus Review, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Tiferet Journal, Please See Me, River Teeth‘s “Beautiful Things,” The Forge Literary Magazine (upcoming), and others. Visit her at catherine.klatzker.com.