Night of Ravens

by Grace Massey


Above the nursing home
souls hover, wisps
and feathers

my mother’s eyes
are whites of eggs, oxygen
finally silent where we have sat
for days grown roots that steal

into the basement mortuary, snake
around waxen faces, press
against the eyelids of the dead.

I am a tree
racing from the axe man
shaking raucous blue-black ravens
from my hair, fleeing

my mother, her days
in bed, my ragged fingernails
tangled hair. She rises
on shattered bones, darts
into the ice storm

searching for my father
dead these fifty years
a lit cigarette still between his lips
wandering among angels
and overturned flowerpots, hurries

back to her parents and the cat
she forgot she owned who purrs
as loud as the rusted motorboat that carries
her across the lily-choked waters.

Grace Massey is a poet, classical ballet and Baroque dancer, gardener, and socializer of feral cats. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts with her husband, Michael, and a formerly feral cat, Penelope. Grace was Executive Editor for Social Studies for Pearson Education for many years and has degrees in English from Smith College and Boston University. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in numerous journals, including Quartet, Thimble, Lily Poetry Review, and ONE ART.