Crow’s Astronomy Lesson

Anyone who writes
the universe tends
toward one way or another
in aligned perfection
does not see the errant rows
the farmer plows
or the black hole
crows cut on the edge


Rodeo Gulch

I know dusk.  I know how eyesight shifts
from detail to darkness, from pinpoint
accuracy to peripheral wandering.
I know how feet shuffle and the start
to a stumble, the ankle-scrape
and stropping of calves against brush,
the quick blink from safety to fear,
the one stack of lit smoke
from the lone farmhouse a thin white spire
eaten by the black maw of sky.
I know the quick sucking in of breath
when the trail vanishes beneath you
and the wind like a ghost seems to whisk
from side to side no matter the turns.
I know the provocation of streetlights,
the safe harbor of moonlight,
the last thorn-twist of the thigh
and rails of bramble reaching to keep you there.
Take my hand. Let me lead you.


Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz, California, with his wife and a July abundance of plums. He has poems in Spry, LitBreak, The Monarch Review, and ucity, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Review Narrative Poetry Prize.