by diane tucker
The gulls’ shadows, temporary crows,
rush up the dock’s rust-stained sides,
meeting their white-as-angel selves at its lip,
all under the gaze of two yellow
tyrannosaur cranes on their bee-striped feet.
Some of the black bird-shapes are real crows
and the rest are seagulls’ shadows, wider,
their wings narrower and knife-shaped, gulls
trying to paint themselves up the vast grey
building’s side. But the image never sticks
and they fly by again: living, rising brushes.
The crows are smaller and smug in the distance,
racing up and meeting their shadow-selves
in the sky. But they can’t streak it either, great
horizontal slab a block long, metal tunnel
disgorging ships, wall of wind gathered and pressed
flat and swung up perpendicular to the water.
Into this both crows and gulls slam their shadows,
scrape them up its sides, sweep them back down
again, day after day of invisible avian ink making
time itself the paint against the wall, a streaked
and graven web of swift calligraphy.