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Seven Ravens



Remember the father's unguarded wish

for the young men who failed

to return from the well.

This is the wide world.

We want to think that wishing

can make it so.

Pictures of bodies, downed in ambush,

are these birches, fallen in snow.

Worried little sister

takes a bit of bread, a chair to rest,

her mother's ring.

She goes to the glass mountain.

Who would not sacrifice

the little finger of her left hand

for a key to death's door

if it will save them?

Remember that magic thinking

is no substitute for wisdom.

No more than religion

is a recipe for peace.


Daniel Lusk teaches in the English department at the University of Vermont. His latest book is Kissing the Ground: New & Selected Poems (Onion River, 1999).