For Theo

In the book about the family of mice
who must move to avoid the spring threshing
of the tractor, there is a clumsy crow
named Jeremy. Every good story needs
a clown, a jester, a fool; a silly goose.

And here he is, distracting us from the story
with what distracts him: a silver, glinting
scrap of tin. It lies in the grass, reflecting
the sun. He’s entranced, mesmerized; forgets
the question the mother mouse has asked him.

There is likely a part of his crow brain,
that olive-sized nugget of bird wisdom
and feathered lore, that spins the question
like a top, tightly wound and nearly drilling
a hole with its focus … before tilting,

wobbling, and tumbling on its side. I ask
if you know the difference between tin
and aluminum, since we’re paused inside
this pause, this glow, your head on my shoulder—
and truth is I don’t know either. Your breath

on my neck is dandelions after rain,
or just the breath of a boy I’m learning
how to love. No, you say. And I’m proud—of us
both—men who do not know and say so.
Back inside the story, Jeremy the crow

breaks the spell of his reverie with a jolt
and tells the mama mouse he can fly her
to safety that night. Can you imagine?
I mean being the crow, but also the mouse.
Being the metal, and also the sun.