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Judith Skillman


This Raven


At Safeway the raven eats sushi, pulling raw salmon
from rice wrapping: a glossy black, larger raven

than I have seen before. Corvus corax, come, raven,
large and common, native to these northern

lands. Prophesize, portend bad luck and ill omens.
Apollo sent you to the parking lot where, between

life and death, the shadow of winter lingers on.
Already, farther west, petals bloomed and fell in

piles to line the curbs. Might I claim you for my own?
I can tell your taste runs to the exotic, your yen

for fish a shopper dropped as good as carrion,
and you a spirit animal like the coyote. We run

apace, I in my illness, you to forage elsewhere, in
dumpster and alley for the ghost of my friend’s son.

About Judith Skillman

Judith Skillman’s recent book is Came Home to Winter, Deerbrook Editions. She is the recipient of grants from Artist Trust & Academy of American Poets. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Cimarron Review, Zyzzyva, We Refugees, & elsewhere. Visit