“Ravens are the birds I’ll miss most when I die. If only the darkness into which we must look were composed of the black light of their limber intelligence. If only we did not have to die at all. Instead, become ravens.”
Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum
“Why should I return, Mother?”
“To be a thing of beauty, my love.”
“But they don’t appreciate beauty there. They refuse to see.”
“Even more reason for you to go back.”
She is not a common raven. She is small and glossy and cunning.
She alights onto pale, parched ground feeling somewhere between goddess and raven and woman.
She releases her night feathers, the lightness of flight, the movement between airs.
And, the earth enshrouds her in opaque, rough black cloths. They flow almost weightless as she enters our ethers.
“Did ever raven sing so like a lark,
That gives sweet tidings of the sun’s uprise?”
She tilts like spring flowers toward the rising sun soaking its heat and becomes real.
A dying man visiting North Africa sees her emergence from her swirling unkindness. His eyes at the end of a long life now see her and are almost blinded by her exquisiteness. Her unblemished, tight, white skin, her tallness, her curves, her way of staring fearlessly into his mind and heart and right through him.
She needs to feed and takes his failing heart.
He takes her photo and passes away before developing his last, departing shot.
His busy, responsible daughter no longer interested in trying to get her siblings to help organize and tired of sorting through his hoarded things takes boxes and boxes of unexamined junk to the Goodwill.
To read this story’s conclusion, please visit my Mother’s Day project @ http://judylit.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-blackbird-of-happiness.html