Before the Ravens came, we knew of grief
Already. We believed the city read
The Bromo-Seltzer’s light. God, every face
Illuminated blue for twenty miles.
Some of us knew of 1917,
Of usually distinct, December 1st,
Of visitors, of tappings on the door—
The Baltimore PD and William T.
Coleman, and McCulloh Street’s white blocks, of crow,
Of gloating lamplight or of gallant gleam
That baptizes the Constellation. We,
Together, slept, with one somniloquy,
With: We the people . . . We hold these . . . We, there–
fore . . . we been wanting. . .
We knew how to eat
Crabs with Old Bay since that’s what makes it good,
That the next cicada infestation would
Turn Sandy Point plutonian. We craved
Calliope whistles from B&O
Steam engines. We knew snakehead fish would walk.
And when the Ravens came, and Memorial
Was nothing, other friends flown, stock and store,
Unhappy master, stillness broken, all
Lit up in blues of blood beneath the skin,
We knew that demons dream with open eyes:
Sanguine, collateral, purple and black;
And, still, our four chambers pumped blood with air
Growing denser, perfumed, salt–thick, unseen.