José Luis Gutiérrez

Today I came across
a black plastic bag
so meticulously folded

into the origami version
of a crow it could only
have been an accident.

Its makeshift wings
fluttered in a soft wind
on an inverted sky

of pliant grass alongside
Sunset: yellow patches
of late summer grass

interleaved with the season’s
greener demarcations.
Off to the side a monarch

with a clipped wing
flitted its seven-day reign
over a scattering

of pinecones.
the mechanism I seek

to make everything
go as planned.
This brings to mind

the question
of yesterday’s crows.
Not so much a murder

as a misdemeanor of them.
The way one’s three caws
resounded in the almost

stillness and seemed
to sustain the earth’s axis
as one of its brethren

fished out the entrails
of a possum baking
in the noonday sun.

Contingency’s myriad
flies us home:
sprouts wings where limbs

were forfeited to carry us
past the vagrant remains
of a life we could no longer

recognize if we tried.


José Luis Gutiérrez is a San Francisco poet. He is also the host of the BookShop West Portal Poetry Series. His work has appeared in Spillway, Eratio, 99 Poems for the 99 Percent, San Francisco Poets 11, Sparring with Beatnik Ghosts, Margie, Letterbox, DMQ, Apropos Literary Journal and is forthcoming in Thrush Poetry Journal and the Mutanabbi Street Anthology due out 2012 through PM Press.