Ode to a Crow by Fiona Tinwei Lam

Poem title: Ode to a Crow Poet Name: Fiona Tinwei Lam Poem begins: Dedicated to Canuck, East Vancouver’s famous crow Dark star of the show, prankster, terror, tease, bad boy,  you ride the Skytrain for free, dive-bomb letter carriers,  target cyclists’ backpacks between rest stops at McDonalds. Gas caps, cigarette packs, lighters--what’s ours is yours, at least for ten seconds (if it’s shiny).  Peck on Playland cash registers like a pro,  snatch tickets at the racecourse,  plunk keys stolen months before  on a horse trainer’s head. The greatest flap? Upstage the flaming car, armed suspect, cops with guns.   Swoop down, steal the evidence, steal the scene.   Cameras rolling, give chase, knife in beak. Then soar  into notoriety—CBC, ABC, The Guardian,  Washington Post, YouTube eternal, Facebook   and 106,000 followers. Your own hit movie.  No lone crow, you adopted a human pal whose caress you’ll bear, whose arm you ride with pride.   Plus nightly hangouts with a six thousand caw choir at the Still Creek rookery. Then you settled down.  A wife, a nest, two kids to feed.  And now to mourn in the endless cycle of effort and chance. For centuries  your kind observed our foibles, became our fables.  Subject of poetic tomes.  Battlefield death-eater.  Hitchock classic. Apollo’s pure white messenger burnt black for uttering truth. But you transcend omen, symbol, metaphor. The world’s your game.  Sleekly assured, you size us up with a darting glance.  A few hops, then off  to join those black streams ribboning the sky,  wings like satin fans against the dusk.  End of Poem. Credits: Copyright © Fiona Tinwei Lam Previously published in Cascadia online magazine, and in the chapbook, Migration Songs, produced for the 27th International Ornithological Congress in Vancouver in 2018,  as well as in Odes & Laments (Caitlin Press, 2019). Author of three poetry books (most recently, Odes & Laments, Caitlin Press, 2019) and a children’s book, Fiona Tinwei Lam’s work also appears in over 40 anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry (2010 and 2020). She is the editor of The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poems about Facing Cancer.  Her work has won TNQ’s Nick Blatchford prize and been shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award and has been thrice selected for BC’s Poetry in Transit. Her award-winning poetry videos have screened at festivals locally and internationally. fionalam.net