Ambush

It’s early summer. Crows
land on the roof early mornings
in between passes at the fig tree
studded with fruit. Their footfalls,
if that’s what they can be called,
are heavier than the squirrels’—
and they are more garrulous,
calling to each other in the manner
of those who have staked a claim.
The brass bells we hung from a branch
in the center of the tree are of
no use. They barely peal in the wind,
only sway a little on their thin
wire links, describing small
circles. I hear the dark crew
at first light, before any alarm.
Most of the fruit is still green,
still hard. But after spasms
of heat alternating with rain,
soon they will soften, swell
with streaks of dark, glossy
purple: that same color I see
flash from the middle of a wing
as it flies defiantly by—

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