Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"Waiting" by Keith Harvey


At dawn she wiggled from their nest of pine needles
and laurel leaves.
When he tried to rise,
she pushed him down
and shook her head.
She staggered from the woods,
her legs swollen and her feet
round like breadfruit,
holding her distended belly,
teetering with every step.
He hid his head among the leaves,
ashamed that she would suffer so.
He watched the morning light
strike her shoulders,
dabbing a halo of light around her dark head,
her hair cascading down her naked back.
She entered the bulrushes,
that marked the river,
and then disappeared.
He imagined her wading across the river,
climbing the red clay bank
onto the yellow grass of the savannah,
where the sun boils and the red lions hunt.
Once she was gone, he lay flat,
listening to the metallic rattle of the cicadas,
their noise roiling through the woods like waves
against pumice rocks on black sand.
He was now afraid.
To find solace,
he gathered crow feathers,
cracked a zebra’s femur,
smeared gelatinous marrow
over his pale skin,
and attached the feathers.
He painted his face black
with soot from last night’s fire
and tied a crow’s skull to his head
with a strand of his red hair.
He climbed a rock
and squatted.
Turning toward the south,
he shook a dried gourd
and cawed into the dry air.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lovely piece of writing, you. But...I want to know/I need to know, what a crow resembles. I always imagine dark thoughts with such.