Winds howl in the deep night, dissembling a persistent tapping at the balcony door. A lone blackened spirit flutters at the pane. The moonlight, peeking through clouds, projects iridescent hues of purple and red off its feathers. With trepidation, I gently crack the door, upon which the feathered beast enters, alighting upon the bust of a Titan war god that has stood solemn guard over my chamber. Having flown from the shores of the underworld, this raven, this Seraphim, is perhaps weary, yet it is an angelic spirit of light and ardor, not ominous or ghastly, but beguiling and auspicious amid the room’s shadows and silken purple curtains, which beat and rustle from the sudden draft of frigid wind. A violet velvet-lined chair provides the only respite in my nocturnal adventure, as the raven regales his tales of saintly yesteryears, when plates piled high with black fruits, cherries, blueberries and olallieberry, festooned platters of smoked spare ribs rubbed in chili powder and achiote, culled from the exotic lands of the New World; served like delicacies alongside cured meats and black legumes spiced with oregano, mint and zest. Incense from the manor tower perfumes the halls with fragrances of anise and musk, inducing a warmth of well-being. “Spirit, I entreat you. Indulge me with a quaff of this sweet nepenthe, so that yesterday’s sorrows will plague me no more.” For in this surreal midnight visitation, the darkness glows radiant, the tempest tamed with the balm of Gilead, the demon’s dirge to toll - nevermore. In thy elixir, there is all this, and so much more.
notes by diane f duffy, elliptical pontificator