Three Births of the Raven

D. A. Borer


The second time I became Raven it was no mistake

even though I had been thinking of owls

or to be precise, one particular owl. The mist was warm

and my hearing was sharper than the auricle of a knife-carved wooden Indian who has little to do but sit and listen

and wonder when fire or hatchet would give life again.

I reached up to feel my ears when I realized I had no fingers

or ears or normal nothing but the all black

of me was the new normal

I took flight into the thick Pacific fog

fearless for the first time in my life

free to be

me, only me, all of me, free.


The first time I became Raven was when that one particular owl

in the high meadow of Mother Jun hooted me into being

a soldier Odin set

upon the fresh scent of the wise warrior queen


But then I tarried, for a time lost, and began consorting

with convivial crows who did not trust

me at first but gorged the crusts I bore to befriend them

as I forgot Raven in the comfort of being Crow


The third time I became Raven the crows were concerned

until they saw me with a single sideways glance alarm a hawk

into flapping a frenzy.

Raptors are sharp of talon and beak, but the crows all know

they can be had.


As the crows cackled and cawed

I chuckled and croaked, soared north, catching in an echo

of the first hoot, the lingering scent of Athena: Muse

who made me Me,




D. A. Borer roams the shores of the Monterey Bay. He has worked as a paperboy, general laborer, doodle-bugger, meat-packer, stone poacher, ranch-hand, and war college instructor. His poetry appears in The Write Launch and Sonder Midwest, and Rise Up Review, his prose in Montana Mouthful. Contact him at