flashfic, short stories

The Third Song

It was midway in the morning of the world, in the great middle desert, and a woman knelt beneath a tree beneath the wide, wondering sky.  Her eyes were wet, her throat was dry, her feet as rough as the sand.

Sing to me, the woman said to the sky.  It showed her dry, clear, blueness and dry, clear air, and never a song at all, for this was before the sky learned the rain-song, the storm-song, the thunderbird wing-song.  And the woman went thirsty.

Sing to me, the woman said to the tree.  It showed her pale, deadly spines and pale, threadlike roots, and never a song at all, for this was before the tree learned the leaf-song, the fruit-song, the oasis wind-song.  And the woman went hungry.

Then a crow came out of the west wind, the evening wind.  He was blacker than burnt wood, blacker than unbroken night.

Sing to me, the woman said to the crow.  He showed her the fluid of her eyes and the marrow of her bones, for this was what the crow knew.  As he drank and ate, the crow sang her the mystery of her muscles, the wonder of her womb.

Under that beak, those talons, the woman died.  In her womb, the crow found an egg-child, pale and wondering.  The crow carried the unborn egg-child away and placed it in a nest in the tree, under the sky.  Then the sky learned rain and the tree learned fruit and gave them to the egg-child to drink and eat.  From the rain, the fruit, the crow’s lullaby, all things came to be born.  The crow had no song left for himself, and so in the evening of the world, he finds its echoes in eggshells and carrion, in his own raucous croak.

Fantasy. More poem than prose: a brief creation-myth involving a woman, her hunger and thirst, and a crow. Thanks to my sister and Kim. Appeared in Lenox Avenue Jan./Feb. 2005 (online). (The magazine is now defunct.)