a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
that we’re still in the storm, but the sky is French blue
with high streaming clouds and the kids
are bundled and playing the pirate game
while the midday beaming swells reminiscence
of spring. In these parts, the big birds are hawks
with red tails circling or ospreys drifting in
from shore, but with your shaggy sable plumage,
you are, my friend, decidedly different.
Too big for a crow, you land in the oak
and start your strange singing so that even
the kids cease their treasure search
to stare. Are you an omen, or just a bird?
Who are you who seems so at ease
eying us, coming closer, making sounds
I’ve never heard from a bird. Not your normal
croaks and caws, these are clicks and knocks
and I struggle to place your presence,
easy enough to see you as a cipher
or as the corona dead come back
or the thought I don’t want to think:
a premonition that our turn is coming.
Bird of death flown in from beyond, sitting
on the shoulder of the wicked queen,
or on a pallid bust with eyes of demon dreaming
when in truth, the Audubon folks later inform
what we heard were your care calls, that
toking and wonking is your love language,
nothing raucous here; instead, they are called
comfort sounds and hearsay has tricked me
into seeing you as a sign of something
you’re not. Instead, a mother beckoning
her babies, a lover teasing his mate.
For those moments, an eye in the storm
shushing the months of dread. When I sense
myself slipping, I chant your Latinate lineage
Corvus Corax Corvus Corax Corvus
Corax, relax, weary heart, spring calls,
spring comes, spring resurrects. Take comfort
Corvus knocks on January’s door, breathe
my friend, relax.
Jesse Curran is a poet, essayist, scholar, and educator who lives in Northport, NY. She is the author of two chapbooks of poetry, Elegy & April (Finishing Line Press, 2019) and Double Stroller Dreams (Finishing Line, 2021). Her creative work has appeared in a number of literary journals including Ruminate, About Place, Spillway, Leaping Clear, Green Humanities, Blueline, and Still Point Arts Quarterly. Jesse is also certified in hatha yoga and permaculture design, two practices that inform her commitment to contemplative service and community building. She currently teaches at SUNY Old Westbury and Northport Yoga Center, where she instructs a weekly class called “Yoga and Poetry.” She is the mother of two bright stars, Leona and Valentine.