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,
the old, the weary, someone dying of a broken heart,
the diseased, 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.
Karen Skolfield’s book Frost in the Low Areas (2013) won the First Book Award for Poetry from Zone 3 Press. She is the poetry editor for Amherst Live, a quarterly production of poetry, politics, and more. She’s also a contributing editor at the literary magazine Stirring and her poems have appeared in Best of the Net Anthology, Cave Wall, Memorious, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, Verse Daily, West Branch, and others. Visit her online at http://www.karenskolfield.blogspot.com/