portion of the artwork for Michael Dwayne Smith's poetry

What Raven Steals
Michael Dwayne Smith

Black wires sag under ravens,
save for the occasional trickster
hanging upside down.
She wraps her fingers tightly around

a blue and black wire.
She wears a navy blue dress
and a wide-brimmed straw hat
that hides her hair.

He settles in a tree,
claws hooked on a branch, stares
right at the girl. Ahead, islands
of dark pines, to the left, open sky—

a cognitive strangeness occurs,
as when the artist leaves
space empty. Hath not black birds
power on thee to save?

Could be, says one of these giant
language-using ravens, around us wiry
ghost bodies strung upside-down
in caliginous treetop tents.

Despite occasional irreverence,
she has you lying down under a thick
moss duvet, asks if you need a doctor,
yet crying to be saved.

I would speak in tongues of red, white,
pearly blue-blacks: “The crack in
everything lets tricksters play a word
all capsized, upside down.”

It would have been convenient
if a great raven had crowed at that,
closing in on this place, and cast
its black shadow.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 41 | Summer 2013