Back to Black

by Jamie McKendrick

Hey crow – have you clocked some carrion
or come to make friends? Your croak and cackle’s
more tuneful to me than the blatter of grackles,
your black blacker than cormorant or shalik.
Of all the inks I’ve accrued – the squat bottle
of India pine soot, lampblack and shellac
deepened with a stratum of gum arabic
or Chinese ink stick fine-ground on the ink stone –
none’s lacquered and lustrous as yours, none runs
so far from the spectrum or eats the sun
back to a charred bone with quite your sardonic
aplomb. So be a friend and lend me a peck
from your cloak of no colour, your vital and dense,
original virginal evergreen black.