In ragged rows, crows glean the vacant lot
across from the hospital. Ambulances come
and ambulances go, sirens a backdrop
to the cackling crows exploring weedy tufts
of star thistle interrupting patches of dirt.
The rough-tumble flowers tell their own story
of survival and semi-safe harbor: their seedy habitat
hides a few slugs or grubs with brown leaf and thorn.
One crow lingers over an old bottlecap
exerting a free will to like shiny things.
The grub’s free will is to hide.
In the hospital the grub seems free
but a charge will appear
for every meal brought forth on trays.
What knowledge can we glean from the day-to-day?
Someday exhaustion will overtake our hunger
but today the field won’t reasonably be exhausted
of insects. Success is never one hundred percent
in any endeavor. Black feathered
in near hundred-degree heat, the crows
will retreat to shadow caves, inner branches
of hemlock and maple. Except for a dispute
over the bottle cap the crows keep to their individual
rowed territories. A community of crows.
A communal effort. A community hospital.
In our gleaning moments a simple bottlecap gleams.