James Reed, Untitled [Crow Face], 2018, lithograph on paper, Fairfield University Art Museum

Corvus Corone

From ark released, you fluttered to and fro
and watched your brother dove fetch back his branch
The peaceful token snatched up from the flood
abandoned you to craft and carrion chance
They saw themselves within your blackened eye
and called you trickster, thief of form and light
The games you’ll play from first times till the end
wink veils atop the mirrors of their fright
Wednesday’s children hear your landing twice
upon each shoulder of their one-eyed chief
Taloned thoughts snip wings of memory,
like plumes, stripped from an ancient oak’s belief
You paced at edge of fields long drenched in blood,
so famed and feared for smell of ancient signs
Three faces, Badhbh, the sisters of discord
ensured these grounds drank deep of human wine
Perched, in night, on head of Pallas’ stone,
one word sailed over seas Plutonian
To gift a poet with your hopeless gaze
that we, no more, might ever sorrow shun
And yet, despite such warning in your wake
your shadow shoals the shelf beneath our dreams
We cannot help but wonder why the shine
of midnight feathers lasts, or so it seems
Much longer than the pluck of olive branch
Beyond lampoons of our projected shame
Within the single eye that does perceive
the dredge of soil we know to hold our blame
We thank you for your gothic constancy,
harbinger of mankind’s destructive way
Reminding us no time can be too late
to own the price that is but ours to pay
We free you now, to fly your path back home,
the hatch of gopherwood is open still
And ask of you but two remaining boons:
the inkwell of your heart, and feather for our quill

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