Whirlwind of Ravens

A poem by Randall Smith

At once muscling
The bones of vernal maples
They rise spontaneous
Cycling in capillary descent
To glut on discarded Tortas
And beef cheeks
Fragrant with corn oil
Behind La Tienda Salvadoreno.

They land singly
Or in pairs
In rhythm
And return
After their allotted time
To the vortex
And they seem at home.

A thousand ravens,
A thousand different days,
Whirlwind in a countervail
To the Earth
Each landing in its allotted time
Each returning to the wind.

That’s another notion…

Unfurled as motion
Within motion
Simple in the suggestion
That the direction
And the endpoint
Of movement
Is unimportant
Only its inevitability
And if both motions stopped,
That of the earth,
Seemingly infinite
And of the whirlwind
Of the ravens
Quick to vanish
It would lead us to
The fact of
Utter stillness

And the impossibility of
Any seeming
Of any being
Without a centrifuge
And a center point
And inexorable motion
And the orbits of
Wound tight
‘round tortas
Would be the same impossibility
We face when we face God.

Randall currently collects his mail in Brooklyn.