This Thing

Nancy Dew Taylor

Unlike the crows, impatient, calling
to each other, hurrying to rendezvous,
you step aside for me, attend
as though I were one
of their spotted olive eggs.

Look at that male eye the female
as she slants into a spruce.
He perches and performs ablutions—
scratches behind his cocked left ear,
aerates the feathers of his tail—
then straightaway lifts to her.

I’ve seen one at midday
in foam, foot braced against prey,
wrestle from a crab shell
its feast of sweet meat. Still,
I’ll chance this thing with you
these mornings, earth slow turning
toward light, as we to one another.

Nancy Dew Taylor’s poetry chapbook, Stepping on Air, was published by Emrys Press in 2008. Her work has appeared in Appalachian Journal, Kalliope, The South Carolina Review, Timber Creek Review, and Tar River Poetry and in several anthologies, including A Millennial Sampler of South Carolina Poetry and Contemporary Appalachia, volume 3 of The Southern Poetry Anthology. She was named honorable mention in the 2008 Rita Dove Poetry Competition in Salem College’s Center for Women Writers’ National Literary Awards and is the recipient of the 2011 Linda Flowers Literary Award from the North Carolina Humanities Council. She lives in Greenville, SC.