Conjunctions:75 Dispatches from Solitude

Corvid Vision
  one for sorrow

        Forty days and forty nights And at last    Ararat
                Noah sent Raven forth
                Raven did not return
for all Raven needed
was all that remained     death

                                two for mirth

                                Raven calls Grok mocks me grok

                        how little I grok

           three for a funeral                                      
When something is said to come full                
circle does this mark completion or make               
a new form               

                                                                     an O
                                                                     through which another
                                                                     could fly?
When Raven eats               
is it meat                
or flesh?               

four for birth

        Lightning strikes
                 birthing Fire Raven fails
                          to fetch it       Fire burns     rings round     Owl’s eyes
                                                           teaches    Snake to dart

                              Spider weaves       before she departs   a basket
                         Over water she strides       an ember encased    on her back
                                           Into the world Spider releases the gift
                                                                                          of Fire

                                             five for heaven

                                            Boon of a breeze Spider escapes

                      Raven’s eye   Her thread

                                carried   to a new shore

                    If the thread   sticks

                              the first bridge   is formed

six for hell

Wind carried
a feather and my father
to the island

of Manhattan
My mother released
her wish   I

was born   A priest
had pity
on my mother

my father
a job

the second
We stayed

A sticky
web grew A new

        seven for the devil, his own self

        Around me all
        I could see
                    was that

which was not    in fact
before my eyes
        I tried to type moon

                        phase Auto-
correct replaced it
                        with mom

                                passed This morning
                                             two crows on a rooftop
                                                      Tent rock

                                              Fairy chimney
                                              Earth pyramid
                                                        Alternating  hard

                        and soft
                                    rock  Mineral

                color Attention

eight for a wish

        Hoodoo residue

                     If the shadow
              of an idea follows

            how clear
          can thought ever run?

How to drop a shadow past?
                        Apollo burned Raven black

   (failure to silence a truth)

nine for a kiss

Raven consumes Coyote’s castoffs

the innards of rodents both large
  and swallowable flies off to shine

  before the silver morning moon
I go home and swallow the ligaments

tendons flesh whole On my back
  I carry fire and blood mother and

  father the war they left behind the 
war they wage daily in their own minds

the moon the sun the leaves I want to
  lay across the page the ones I spill like

  lies like bread crumbs like stories for
some other creature desperate to

believe to weave into the web that
  holds her aloft traps her in the corner

she calls safe home hers here now

ten for a bird you must not miss

Self-portrait as carrion-       
eating crow       

The dead enter       
my body        

and not only rise       
but sing as they do       

I am the color       
of all things       

On my one eye       
sits the world       

Barbara Tran’s poetry has appeared in Bennington ReviewThe Paris Review, and The New YorkerA contributor to collaborative works by the womxn writers’ collective She Who Has No Master(s), Barbara is indebted to Canada Council for the Arts for essential support. Barbara’s video poem “So Long” will tour with a Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network traveling exhibition in 2022.