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The Smell of Ravens

There is still old snow

beneath the trees,

and rimes of ice

along the fenceposts in the morning.

The air still cracks your lips

and laughs

with the unquiet rasp

of wind-grabbed branches.

The moon is a cold shadow.

The calendar feels dead.

But winter’s heart is breaking.


the south-bourne sun sheds

yet more skin,

peeling off the clinging film

of dusk and dawn

to leave some seconds more of light.

At the bottom of the yard

the water crawls the creek bed,

halting and unsteady

like a car-wrecked body

learning how to step.

And there beneath the wind,

wrapped around

the gasping of the maples,

comes the smell of ravens.

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