Certain experiences enter our lives by nostalgia only, and stay there, sometimes growing with a slow cautious warmth into mainstays.

Native islanders call this kind of experience “Fish Crow,” after the elusive bird of that name.

I write letters on this subject to London, New York, Paris, and quite a few smaller places in Ohio, Michigan, Colorado (Colorado), and Iowa, where my friends have been.

I’ve only seen 3 fish crows in my entire life, all in early dawn of April, 1964, roosted on a shiny barkless elm standing in a light drizzle just outside those creamy cities.

Merrill Gilfillan, “Preface to ‘Earth’”, in Selected Poems: 1965–2000