[…] For instance, that fool crow,
picking through trash near the corral, understands the center of the
world as greasy strips of fat. Just ask him. He doesn’t have to say that the earth has turned scarlet through fierce belief, after centuries of heartbreak and laughter—he perches on the blue bowl of the sky, and laughs.
–Joy Harjo, current poet laureate
It’s okay to call Crow a fool. He frequently does look foolish. The difference between him and us is he doesn’t mind.
In Harjo’s poem the crow is perching not in a tree but in the sky. How is that possible? Watch a crow as he flies. Watch him hang for a second, as if the sky is a blue bowl, created only for him. He laughs at our incredulity.
He laughs despite the fact that he’s seen it all, seen “fierce belief” and “heartbreak” rip apart people and land. He’s seen, as Harjo describes earlier in the poem, each large city lay claim to being the center of the world. His center is our greasy trash.
The last word of the poem is Crow’s “laugh,” and it gets a whole line to itself.