king of ravens

Your puffed grey idolatries are quick
to pick up these new diversions.
Their motley flashes a warning,
warming this cold court. They are dark
as a tarot pack, closed to your
over-quick eyes even
when they fan out like peacocks.

Their colors toll in my blood,
my sleep. Their hunched shapes complement
my thickened brain. I read
strange words in their bent
forms and blooded colors.
When they drop
like so many soured leaves
having played out a dead court
in this, my stunned one,
one of your many lackeys
scrapes them up again.

I am crossed, reversed
by the influence of birds –
the Ace of Owls, round eye sharp and
yellow as a talon,
bends his bishop’s face upon me again.

I would order them all banished,
flights of doves emigrating vexed
from the realm of your amusement,
but I am augured against it
by the Queens of old ambassadors,
their Spanish coats glinting
startled in candlelight.

Dimly can I hear
a bloodier answer – deal
another round of Ravens.
My clothes are
budding black, my hands and hooks
yellowing. The cards knock in my grip,
pecking; I toll them out again.