Raven Kept Watch

He sat high above,
watching the brown house
with its empty front porch,
broken picket fence,
battered gate.

He heard the shouting,
the punch,
the slaps, the screams . . .
Then nothing
in the early morning silence.

He saw a large man emerge,
walking slow,
who pushed himself into a red truck,
then drove a crooked path
down the street.

He called.
She awoke
from a restless sleep,
glanced quickly out the window
to see the truck gone,
black raven on the pole.

She looked around,
nothing to take,
nothing she wanted.
Pulled her jacket on
to cover the bruises,
put her purse over her shoulder.

He watched as she walked
down the sidewalk,
not the same way the man had gone.
He swooped down from his perch,
followed her to the highway,
wings wide.

She kept moving,even as she stepped
off the curb. A woman in a pickup
stopped to let her by.
Raven circled.
She mouthed thank you, thank you,
a long scar running across her face.

Elise Stuart

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