This Unkindness

Veronica Kornberg
| poetry


You’ve got to hand it to them, the ravens.

They live just about anywhere—a garbage dump

in the Mojave Desert, base camp on Mount Everest,

or atop the water tower of the Chelsea Hotel.

One ate a king’s heart. Another poached condor eggs

from a nest on the cliff. They love to play

Three-card Monte, slick as any magician or thief,

deft with their haha sleight of hand before stashing

stolen goods in their secret caches. I wouldn’t

put it past them to have Swiss bank accounts

and shell companies in the Caymans. You can’t

go near a decent restaurant without hearing

their kraa, the blowhard knocking and rattling

con job as they flaunt their puffed-up ruffs.

Iridescent. How can they have any fans at all? Folks

who admire how they harness the updraft

just above the cliff face, how they amass

mounds of shiny objects and never tire

of playing catch-me-if-you-can. With each ill-gotten

gain, argument, law, their numbers increase—

obsidian arrowheads blackening the sky.

Veronica Kornberg is a poet from Northern California. Recipient of the 2018 Morton Marcus Poetry Prize, recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Spillway, Tar River, Crab Creek Review, and other journals.

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