Avoiding the Dishes

by E. Thomas Jones


A crow struts in the turning lane
between Arvest bank & Walgreens,
shoveling its head toward ground;
nearby, a thrush guards the bike path
& with a dark pomegranate seed
eye, watches cars roll closer & keeps

still as they drive around it.
Birds speck the roadside, flickering
in, out of long grass & more depart
from rooftops as couples return
to their small apartments, inkblot
reflections haunting puddles.

I hadn’t heard the rain last night
& am mostly interested in keeping dry
my shoes; yet the dirt’s overturning
excites the birds, who are searching
for worms & things dredged up
after the washing. My love & I

have spent years together avoiding
dishes, soaking silverware in bowls
stacked in the sink. & while it rained
I dreamed my love died beside me
brutally, cleaved by a man
with a hatchet. I admit I did nothing,

saved no one & pretended to
already be dead; paring knife held
to my neck. The birds don’t watch
me as I watch them & instead
they call above me for each other
in the brightness. Powerlines

bob with the weight of more crows,
& scatter raindrops onto the ground.


E. Thomas Jones is a poet from Ellijay, GA and a current MFA candidate at the University of  Arkansas. She was the recipient of the 2018 Lily Peter fellowship and the 2019 C. D.Wright/Academy of American Poets Prize, is an assistant poetry editor for the Arkansas  International.