Vox Populi

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James Crews: A Few Things I Have Learned

A tall glass of water, cold from the faucet, can shift almost any mood. Likewise, a short walk around the block, feeling the crunch of gravel beneath your boots, waving to a neighbor prying open her mailbox. Watching birds will save you on a daily basis—the shaggy barred owl clinging to a pine branch with its deadly claws, eyes lazing in the glaze of a winter morning, head swiveling back and forth. When you look again, he’s gone, and this teaches you to love what the world reveals as soon as it’s revealed. Often, it’s not worth pointing out a mistake someone else has made, not a friend, not your spouse, and not even the clerk at the grocery store who dropped your apples all over the floor, bruising one, because when you asked her to take it off your bill, she saw she didn’t enter the right code for organic, and then charged you more. Real life does not happen in the light of a screen but in late sun glancing along the living room wall, shadows of prayer flags hung in the windows, outline of the jade plant, whose waxy leaves gather what light they can before they drop off. Grief is like a bruised honeycrisp: Yes, one part is ruined and must be cut away, but the flesh beneath the battered place always tastes sweeter when you slice into it, the apple weeping its juices onto the cutting board, having hoarded its sugars for this very moment with you.

Copyright 2023 James Crews

James Crews’s books include Bluebird (Green Writers Press, 2020) and The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection and Joy (Storey Publishing, 2022).

James Crews (Storey Publishing)

5 comments on “James Crews: A Few Things I Have Learned

  1. Lisa Zimmerman
    March 3, 2023

    “Watching birds will save you on a daily basis”
    I have found this to be absolutely true for me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. José A. Alcántara
    February 28, 2023

    “this very moment”


  3. Loranneke
    February 28, 2023

    James Crews poems make me think of hearing the voice of a dear friend, quietly, kindly speaking to you…

    Liked by 1 person

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