I read an article about ravens. Next thing you know
I’ve been invited to take part in this poetry reading
About ravens. How intelligent they are. Then I’m at the Yale
Art Gallery, where there’s an exhibition called “Fox,
Henhouse and Crow” by Robert Wilhite.
I know they’re not exactly the same thing. Ravens are bigger,
With longer beaks, and fantails, but still.
Three home safes, the first with a chicken inside and two eggs,
A nest, a red box, and a fox outside peering in at them;
The second empty with chicken feathers strewn around;
Third, a crow sitting on top of an artificial tree
Drilled into the top of the safe, which is closed.
For instance, they can recognize a human face.
The raven doormat outside the apartment of a friend of mine
Struggling with cancer. She got the doormat on vacation
Overseas. She said she just saw it and she liked it.
If you’ve treated them badly, killed one of them, say,
they’ll attack you in a gang the next time they see you.
A cartoon in The New Yorker where a dejected-looking guy
is playing Scrabble with a raven who’s about to lay an “N” down
At the beginning of the word “Evermore.” Triple points.
But if they like you, they’ll protect you.
“The apogee of avian intelligence arguably occurs in New Caledonia –
an island adjacent to Australia – where a native crow (a songbird)
Makes a variety of tools, including hooks.”* I read books.
[ *Note: New York Review of Books, March 9, 2017)