THE ALLFATHER’S RAVENS



THE ALLFATHER’S RAVENS, by David Sklar

Beside the sleeping Odin, Memory yawps
about the flavor of his master’s eye.
And Thought, his brother, hungrily recalls,
perched on the Well of Knowledge, gazing down
at Memory pecking at the sodden orb,
which sank beneath his beak, bobbed up again
before he plucked it from the sacred ripples.
Then Memory, with full beak, called “Have a bite.
So juicy, and there may be worlds inside.”
As Thought considered it for just a glance
the other eye looked in. Memory flew off.

They were shadows then, ephemeral, uncertain,
and Thought still is—a whisper in the sky.
It’s not all bad. It means that he can go
where Memory cannot, and see what’s there,
and see what isn’t there but might have been.
Still, he envies Memory’s piercing claw,
his silky plumage and his hard, sharp beak.

What would Thought sacrifice for just a bite
of what his brother tasted, years ago?
The eye moves back and forth beneath its lids
and Odin dozes, old and unaware.

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David Sklar grew up in Michigan, where the Michipeshu nibbled his toes on the days Lake Superior was feeling frisky. A Rhysling nominee and a past winner of the Julia Moore Award for Bad Verse, he has more than 100 published works, including fiction in Strange Horizons and Daily Science Fiction, poetry in Ladybug and Stone Telling, and humor in Knights of The Dinner Table and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. David lives in northern New Jersey with his wife, their two barbarians, and a secondhand familiar, and he almost supports his family as a freelance writer and editor.


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