A Crow in the Sun in Two Thousand and Three

We wait on the line, for the telephone line,
and the gurgling gush of a fountain captivates me,
watery sounds rushing deliciously under the ancient radiating sun.
Then what do I see come from a tree, but a crow,
a crow on the fountain, now dipping into the gush;
and my captivation deepens like the sea, on the line,
for the telephone line, in our hot Pyongyang summer sun.
Dipping and drinking, dribbly drops of delicious water
dripping from its beak, black beak like octopus-ink black,
with tentacle feathers and triable eyes, surveying the coiling scene;
and I am staring, and the water is churning, and the crow stares back at me.
“Excuse me, comrade,” a man’s voice says, “the telephone is free.”
“Oh, excuse me; I am sorry,” I say and make my long-distance call to Kaesong.

Alzo David-West