by Meg Kearney

Satan, in John Milton's Paradise Lost,
"sat like a cormorant" on the Tree of
Life, watching Adam and Eve and
"devising death."

[Their common name means] raven of the sea
—from 100 Birds and How They Got Their Names

Luminous as an oil slick
in the sun, this morning's
cormorant rides out low
tide on a grey-green rock
you couldn't see an hour

ago. When the bird first surged
from the sea you thought
Snake. Something tunneling
down its length like a vole.
Not vole, crab. Then

the shoulders—massive,
mythic: Snake on Raven's
Back. Better, Milton's Satan
in a tree. Tempting you,
its gleaming wings spread

like great leaves to dry. There
was a time you would have
given in. You would have
said Yes. Swallowed
anything. Later you would

have woken cold, tangled
amidst the seaweed and slime.
That's where he found you,
your beloved. One morning
like this, walking the wrack line.

from All Morning the Crows (The Word Works 2021)  

Return to:

[New] [Archives] [Join] [Contact Us] [Poetry in Motion] [Store] [Staff] [Guidelines]