The Kinloch Rivers Memorial Prize
Winter 2013
Tim Harkins

Choosing Totems

Why not a predator? Wolves or hawks.
Or if a bird, maybe cormorants.
Why did it have to be crows?
I did not need their raucous caws
inviting roost mates to feast
on roadkill. I did not want them
to pick apart the lie that economics
was reason enough for marriage,
that the memory of passion sufficed.
I did not want them to pick apart
my scowl. I could not shake them.
They met me at every curve, then flew
a thousand paths into the woods.
They demanded a sacrifice. A wife.
A family. A point of view.
They promised awful change.
Follow us, they cawed. Shift with us.
Find magic worlds. Tell a true story.
We are a black piece of night
alive in the bright day. Begin to dream.
©2013 Tim Harkins