40 YEARS OF CUTBANK: "Unison Calling" by Angie Macri










From CutBank 76

Unison Calling

With the scientific name Antigone,     the sarus crane holds a band

of red around its head, a rope worn     into the flesh in mourning.

They sing this morning, heads    back, the female first, then

the male. She says two things     and he, one, brief in speech.

They are the tallest in the world, taller     than most men. I have never

seen a crane so beautiful, my father     says, and as he can’t hear me, I don’t say

anything, his aids left behind again,     not liking the sound of his own feet

and insects of wet spaces meeting.     The cranes grow from what is wet, not

his dry mouth, words lost     in a syndrome that drags

his face in red patches.     For some time, Antigone was alive

and kept to her father’s side,     even after she was condemned, inside

a cave, wet place. Her losses,     mother, brothers, sister, father.

If one crane is killed, the other will call     for days in mourning. Of the pride

of lions my father finds, he presses     on the glass like a child,

asks: see them? I’ve never been so close.     The cranes dance at times

of their own choosing.


Angie Macri’s recent work appears in 32 Poems, Fugue, and Waccamaw.  An Arkansas Arts Council fellow, she teaches in Little Rock.