A ghost comes before Raven, as Raven
considers the moist green grass flowing
like a gentle sea from grave to grave.
At Kilmore, Skye, Raven follows
the ghost, from one gravestone
to another, for there is devotion
in his longing for a space
in the world of the dead.
Raven decries his association with
darkness, death, and fear, rather than
an association with rebirth and light.
As he flies, he finds a stone marker
with an hour glass signifying that time
is running out, and a winged
death’s head indicating that life
is fleeting. He sees, as he flies, a child
clutching a guitar. The inscription
reads, “his music and the melody of
his fingers will never be heard again.”
Raven stops here and joins the ghost,
becoming one with the stone, knowing,
with Raven’s image on the gravestone,
this soul will continue to alight.

Swanson’s poems have been featured twice in The Missouri Review. Her work has appeared widely: in the Southern Review, the Denver Quarterly, the American Poetry Journal, and in many other publications. Awards include an NEA Fellowship. Her poetry collection, A Thousand Bonds, was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award.