I, a raven choking,
breast bursting with maggots—
a harsh hacking of mucus and blood—
schooled to silence, to smiles,
to the science of kneeling.
Words scrabbling for the throat, in close-cleft confines
clawing their way out into the sunshine
still closeted in their birthing-sacks
flecked with fluid.
I had so much to say,
but gently hissing, that dark reptilian god,
his green-jawed grin takes us all:
my glutton, merciless.
Harangued, he held me,
a pale experimental bird:
dumb and fluttering to the kiss,
shouldered into abbreviation.
So I dipped my daughters in the ash-soaked river
until the sun hung low enough
to cast a crocodile’s shadow.