By Susan Castillo Street
White Raven on my News Feed
When it all begins to get to me
children in cages
plagues, climate meltdown
I scroll through images:
cats being cats
A white raven. The caption says:
In First Nation indigenous tradition
The White Raven is a Bringer of Light,
A Trickster, or an Omen that
the End of the World is nigh.
I sip my coffee. Perhaps it’s all
a cosmic prank designed to flush out flaws
an omen of apocalypse and endtimes
a sign we’ll be borne skyward on translucent wings
fly triumphant toward the light.
I remember baking cookies
two small bodies pressed
warm against my arms.
Now, on screen their faces flicker.
The eldest asks Where are you?
She’s cross. This is not fun.
I smile. I’m here in London.
What are you up to?
They show off Lego towers.
I read an e-book with the littlest,
She on IPad, I on laptop.
Sometimes I spell things out: kuh-aah-tuh
She cries ‘Cat!’ Sometimes she drifts off,
loses her place, needs my finger there
to point the way. But she’s determined,
keeps unraveling the words.
Across the distance
The two of us weave webs.
Susan Castillo Street is Harriet Beecher Stowe Professor Emerita, King’s College London. She has published four collections of poems, The Candlewoman’s Trade (2003), Abiding Chemistry, (2015), The Gun-Runner’s Daughter, (2018) and Cloak (2020), as well as a pamphlet, Constellations (Three Drops Press, 2016). Her poetry has appeared in leading journals and anthologies.