Raven Stole Seagull’s Story
After Edward S. Curtis’s Kwakwaka’wakw dancers with Hamasta masks, 1914. Photo.
Don’t be suprised when you realize you’ve fallen
in love with Raven. His humour is low-brow
but you smirked just the same. It’s not your fault he stole
Seagull’s sun with a wink and a nudge,
the bentwood box smashed in one corner
of the longhouse, both birds squatting as if engaged
in a showdown, a million miles apart.
Raven pushed more than one thorn
into Seagull’s foot to bring light into the world,
to unlatch the first day, cracked open
like a mussel air-dropped to rocks below.
Raven’s audacity waltzes about your heart,
blows like plastic bags along the beach,
whispers its outrageous heresy: My spirit is free.
You can’t help but be enamoured.
So hold Raven’s story close until you’re ready
for daylight to fall like a nod, for night to take
the shape of a feather, but whatever you do,
don’t let Seagull see you gather it back into his cedar box,
his yellow eye transfixed on your affection for Raven,
on the lunch bag beside you on the driftwood bench.