“Look for Raven Pairs Flying in a Pre-Mating Ritual” by Karen Skolfield
How they would nest in our bones if they could.
Inhabit a skull, wind-scrubbed, sterile,
line it with the high desert plants, that extra
hour of sunlight, the elevation. Bones bleach
because there’s nothing better to do, no books
waiting to be read. Ravens love every little
dead thing, a fur-sack smashed against the road,
a body curled around its own thirst. Strayed hikers,
casualties of friendly fire, someone dying
of a broken heart, it makes no ravenly difference.
Carrion is carrion, you once told me, or maybe
carrion is carillon, the raven voices clanging
like broken bells. There they go, black looped,
long-beaked scribbles, hoping that the world
will end. Tell me they’re not the most intelligent
of the birds. The soft parts of us – that’s the first
thing we give away.
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Karen Skolfield’s Artist Statement: Karen Skolfield’s book Frost in the Low Areas (Zone 3 Press) won the 2014 PEN New England Award in poetry. New poems appear in Boulevard, Carolina Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Guernica, Slice, Washington Square Review, and others; Skolfield is an Army veteran and teaches writing to engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.