Two old crows with fossilized aquiline bodies

still swing and sway though the new penny luster

of younger days has long since tarnished and

faded away.

Elderly bones are dry and brittle, desiccated

tinder for a memorized spark that still rekindles

pleasures of the flesh.

They keep moving , work never ends.

If he sits he falls into a narcoleptic slumber.

In a resonant gravely voice he sings and plunks

“The Rim of Fire” on his electric guitar with

gnarled nicotine-stained fingers.

He splits and stacks firewood, catches clucking

pullets for the chopping block, taps maple trees

for syrup, extracts clover honey from buzzing

hives, clambers on the roof to clean the chimney

with a homemade brush and spindle and takes

careful aim at marauding crows pecking at the corn

She weeds the garden, harvests the seeds from a grove

of yellow sunflowers, trims the purple wisteria encircling

the house, milks their lone cow twice a day, bakes

bread and rolls, rhubarb-apple pie and banana bread.

She feeds the roaming menagerie of hens, pgs, goats,

sheep, kitty cats and mongrel dogs; hand scrubs

the laundry, preserves pickles, beets and beans, sings

contralto in the church choir and is the best designer

in her quilting group.

As wisps of smoke curl out of the roof they settle

down in front of the iron kitchen cook stove.

Aching joints and twitching muscles cry out

for the comforting touch that only one old crow’s

withered hands can provide for the other with

an attunement that speaks without words.

The corrosive caress of time knocks their balance

off kilter as one crow flies away leaving

the abandoned crow at a loss until instinct triggers

an eruption into flight following close behind.

Milton P. Ehrlich 199 Christie St. Leonia, N.J.