Give My Body to the Ravens

by Roberta Senechal de la Roche

Give my body to the ravens

let pale fire come, slow

oxidation and nothing

in proportion; please, my lover

left between the sheets.

 

Sing the breached walls, Troy

or Carthage downed

like adolescence burning

nothing in reserve

bound to meet its match.

 

Artemis in a snowdrift

cold nest, Apollo

down in the gutter again

when he thinks no one is watching

turning women into trees

or something.

 

And what cheap piper will tweet now,

our lady of the arrows

with blood-stained hounds

who asks us for our sorrow

as the bottle empties?

 

Even as a child, our hands

are deeply lined, ready

for our fortunes to be told:

where you will go

with smoke out of your mouth

old blade clenched between your teeth

how many sighs you will embrace.

Roberta Senechal de la Roche is an historian, sociologist, and poet of Micmac and French Canadian descent, and was born in western Maine. She now lives in the woods outside of Charlottesville, Virginia near the Blue Ridge Mountains. She graduated from the University of Southern Maine and the University of Virginia, and is Professor of History at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Her poems have appeared in the Colorado Review; Vallum; Glass: A Journal of Poetry; Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review; Yemassee, and Cold Mountain Review, among others. Her chapbook, Blind Flowers, won the 2016 Arcadia Press Chapbook Prize, and her latest chapbook, Winter Light, will be published in 2018 by David Robert Press – who also will publish her first full-length volume, Going Fast, in 2019.

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August 2018

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