The ravens pay no attention to the billboards

advertising cheaper phones, cantilevered beaks


grip the scraps of dead nests, recycled dank straw,

or the dark thread from the favorite shirt of a man

whose children could not save all the precious objects

that he once owned.

And you are not the first on earth

to read the spray paint on the wall, each slavered word


that eats the rusted belly, agitprop of turf

so vividly asserted, each outlined letter


the new border of a country, barbed wire and swirl

of small bird attacking hawk.

And on their thick necks


the ravens nod, sour old men, having seen it all.



Daniel Bourne’s books include The Household Gods (Cleveland State) and Where No One Spoke the Language (CustomWords). His poems have also been in such journals as Field, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Boulevard, Salmagundi, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Indiana ReviewYale Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review. He teaches at The College of Wooster in Ohio and edits Artful Dodge.

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