The crow that appears
in my back garden
takes me by surprise
again this morning,
tilts his head to one side,
fixes me with a glistening eye,
stares me out of it
till clapped hands
send silent wings
flapping away
like when my father
out of the blue
drops into my mind.
I have not yet learned
to accept visitors
alighting uninvited,
you turn a corner—
there they are, waiting
in ambush. I have
to teach myself
to endure the first flush
of tears, to control
the reflex that slaps
two hands together,
driving out
what should be
cradled between palms.