Pressing cold fingers against a sharp-edged metal key
in a stubborn lock
after running back into the house
to grab a clean apron
i am startled
into the present moment
by the guttural exhortation of a very large black raven
perched directly across the driveway
at eye level
The bird’s dark eyes gleam
January wind cuts through the yard
the raven holds its perch as the power line sways
the moss growing on the shingle overhead is damp and green
and the key is painful against the skin of my fingers,
dried out by a long night of bleachrags at the pub.
Another four ravens fly overhead together
squawking and calling into the cold
wings flapping against the sky like
black aprons on the line.
I see ravens everywhere on my drive to work.
Swooping into naked winter branches,
rising up from the rocky beach by the ferry terminal,
picking at cigarette stubs on the sidewalks of West Seattle.
Tie on my apron and wade into the slow current of Sunday night,
cleaning and serving, emptying salt and pepper shakers
leaning into my work instead of out
noticing the edges of moments,
water landing in a pintglass,
footfalls on time-worn wooden floors.
Damn Raven might’ve been a Rinpoche.