Stuart Bartow

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Artwork by Gene McCormick


On this overcast March day in Albany
on the corner of Sherman and Quail
a raven is quacking. That’s right, quacking.
I can’t locate her. There’s
a black plastic bag stuck in a tree.
It’s not her. I imagine no one knows
a raven is laughing at us all
on this street where I read the stores:
African Hair Braiding, Adam’s Barber Shop,
Mr. Stuff, Yemen Grocery and Deli,
Albany Boxing, Caribbean Produce
and Variety, Beryl’s Beauty Salon,
Up-Top Fragrance and Lingerie.
Some men are playing Hip Hop loud.
The raven loves this music.
I carry a book of poems, feeling good
in the wind in an alien land.


Stuart Bartow teaches at SUNY Adirondack where he directs the school's Writers Project, but if he had more money he would retire tomorrow and go fishing.