Monday, April 30, 2018

The Blackbird Of Happiness

Veronica Haunani Fitzhugh

Ravens are the birds I'll miss most when I die. If only the darkness into which we must look were composed of the black light of their limber intelligence. If only we did not have to die at all. Instead, become ravens.” 

Why should I return, Mother?”

“To be a thing of beauty, my love.”

“But they don't appreciate beauty there. They refuse to see.”

“Even more reason for you to go back.”

She is not a common raven. She is small and glossy and cunning.

She alights onto pale, parched ground feeling somewhere between goddess and raven and woman.

She releases her night feathers, the lightness of flight, the movement between airs.

And, the earth enshrouds her in opaque, rough black cloths. They flow almost weightless as she enters our ethers.

Did ever raven sing so like a lark,
That gives sweet tidings of the sun's uprise?”

She tilts like spring flowers toward the rising sun soaking its heat and becomes real.

A dying man visiting North Africa sees her emergence from her swirling unkindness. His eyes at the end of a long life now see her and are almost blinded by her exquisiteness. Her unblemished, tight, white skin, her tallness, her curves, her way of staring fearlessly into his mind and heart and right through him.

She needs to feed and takes his failing heart.

He takes her photo and passes away before developing his last, departing shot.

His busy, responsible daughter no longer interested in trying to get her siblings to help organize and tired of sorting through his hoarded things takes boxes and boxes of unexamined junk to the Goodwill.

Weeks later, a couple who adores antique cameras finds a cheap, vintage Hasselblad. To their surprise, they find it still has film.

They discover a photo of black birds circling an empty desert.

The wife finds it eery and depressing. One of her early childhood memories was watching a crow eat road kill at the side of long, dirt road. Her brother had told her lies about death and black birds and bad luck. She remembered knowing she would get out of that town and away from death if she just ran away along that road kicking up dust and never looking back.

The husband thinks he sees long black tresses that remind him of Jessica with whom he has been having an affair. For a moment, he thinks of telling her everything. Instead, he gathers his keys and wallet and mutters something about getting a beer.

Veronica Haunani Fitzhugh earned her BA in English Literature from the University of Virginia but is more proud of the friendships she earned through her social justice work in Charlottesville, Virginia.  She has been in several anthologies online and in print.  Her main blog is Charlottesville Winter at 

No comments:

Post a Comment