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Reginald Shepherd
Reginald Shepherd
Reginald Shepherd was born on April 10, 1963, in New York City...
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My Mother Was No White Dove

 
by Reginald Shepherd

no dove at all, coo-rooing through the dusk
and foraging for small seeds
My mother was the clouded-over night
a moon swims through, the dark against which stars
switch themselves on, so many already dead
by now (stars switch themselves off
and are my mother, she was never
so celestial, so clearly seen)

My mother was the murderous flight of crows
stilled, black plumage gleaming
among black branches, taken
for nocturnal leaves, the difference
between two darks:

a cacophony of needs
in the bare tree silhouette,
a flight of feathers, scattering
black. She was the night
streetlights oppose (perch
for the crows, their purchase on sight),
obscure bruise across the sky
making up names for rain

My mother always falling
was never snow, no kind
of bird, pigeon or crow









From Red Clay Weather, published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 2011 by Reginald Shepherd. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
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