“Ravens” by Raven Jade Cole

My mouth opens and a million black ravens
free fall from my lips
I always wave goodbye and smile them away,
feathered mouth and all

they won’t come back
but that’s probably for the best
new ones will arrive any moment
with the rustle of uneasy wings
and dark sounds that get stuck at the back of my throat

I didn’t even know that my mouth was big enough
to accommodate all these fucking birds

and did you know that the collective noun for a group of ravens
is an unkindness?

An unkindness of Ravens live in me
and I don’t know how to get them all to leave
they have nestled in the shadowy cracks of my teeth
claimed my body as home
and sometimes
sometimes their call is the only reminder that I still exist

My mouth opens and unkindness free falls from my lips
launches into the heart of anyone standing too close
They tilt their heads and stare at me
and I am spitting feathered apologies
and promises with an iridescent sheen

I can’t remember when the birds showed up
maybe they have always been here
waiting for me to open my mouth

Raven Jade Cole is a writer, book nerd, and high school English teacher. Her life revolves around critical pedagogy, community-based learning spaces, and the magic that is literature. In addition to working with Operation Pathways, Forward Arts, Inc, and Next Left Press, she performs spoken word poetry at the Eclectic Truth Open Mic and Poetry Slam in Baton Rouge. She currently lives in a gumbo pot in southern Louisiana with her husband and their dog.

Image by Debbie Berk 

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