Judith Montgomery: "Blue Crow and Shadow"




          —after Vincent Van Gogh’s

          Wheat Field with Crows (1890)


Light, and a body intercepting that light—

prerequisites for shadow.  So, eclipses. 


So, shades rising to speak to us who rock

on the shaded porch, refugees from August


glare.  We trace the drips that trickle down

the pitcher of iced tea, the two of us shielded


by the tarred roof from blazing sun that sets

our gold-ripened fields to flame, acres over-


shadowed by black crows that claw the blue

field of the sky beyond.  Look for the blue


in all shadows, he said.  So, the fiercely smeared

blues and darker blues that body forth his sky,


are they then shadow?  Of what?  And what

of his crows, who ought to cast cobalt shadows


on the fields below, marking that stroked gold,

but who cast none?  Their eyes must glitter


like fire, or like the artist’s, as they wheel above

our porch.  And you, setting down your glass


of tea, turn your left wrist up to light: see how

blood’s blue shadow runs barely beneath the skin—


are you too not a bodied shadow, wisp of inked

paper that one day will smoke and curl in from


the edges? that will burn, become blue strokes

against a larger canvas, rising like a shade


into the deep fields of some star-haunted, some

darkening and suddenly interrupted sky?



Judith Montgomery's poems have appeared in Bellingham Review, Gulf Coast, Northwest Review, and Southern Review, among other journals. Her poetry has also been published in several anthologies, including Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer's Disease. Montgomery's poetry collections include a full-length book, Red Jess (2006), as well as two chapbooks, Passion (2000) and Pulse & Constellation (2007).