Three Crows Laughing, by Moriah Erickson

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Three Crows Laughing, by Moriah Erickson (2011)

"Three Crows Laughing, is full of luminous grit. Each poem has punch, is pungent with both the bitter and the sweet. Erickson is a squatter in her Minnesotan turf, has staked her lot and holds her ground in line after line with terrific firmness and force. Be it poems about family, children or childhood, each poem 'blooms into flame/gasoline on a spark of truth.' Ericksonís characters, alive with the strife of life, people an inimitable world, one readers will be reluctant to leave."
Elizabeth Kirschner                   
Three Crows Laughing Copyright 2011 by Moriah Erickson

Poet Bio:
Moriah Erickson
Sample Poems:
The Murdered        Liar        Three Crows Laughing

Moriah Erickson
Moriah Erickson  
Moriah Erickson resides in Duluth, MN with her husband, seven children, and one silent plott hound. She works part time as a respiratory therapist and is currently pursuing a MFA in poetry from Fairfield University. She has had multiple poems and stories published in journals including Permafrost, Common Ground Review, Rosebud and others. She won the 2010 Frances Kahn Memorial Prize for poetry and placed 2nd in the 2010 William Stafford Poetry Contest. She enjoys laundry and cooking for mass consumption.


The Murdered

They inhabit the strangest corners of the world:
A forest preserve beneath some leaves, one pink-toed foot
protruding into the air; beneath the packed dirt floor
in the plumberís basement, his children playing overhead;
or parted out like Dodges or Chevys,
then put in grocery bags,
left on the curb with banana peels and eggshells.

What they tell us though,
with their cold skin intact, not sloughing
and their still-open eyes,
their blouses still buttoned
or not, the purple lines of ligature
left by scarves, by ropes,
they are not the tales of horror
that we expect.

The stories the dead tell
do not end in moral. No woodcutter
comes, kills the wolf, and takes them home,
where their loving parents wait. No counseling, even,
to try forgetting this.
No, the last thing they see
are the stars behind their eyelids, splendid
explosions of light, no house
made of candy, no fairy godmother.
Their stories begin now, are told
by someone else.

Copyright ©2011 Moriah Erickson


Underneath my bed
of nails I keep
a box with seven
locks, each more secure.
Inside reside the remnants of lies
Iíve told, the really Big Ones.
Thoughts of opening
it sour my mouth, draw tight the straightjacket
and fill my lungs
with cotton batting.
Before I sing
my farewell ballad, leave town
unannounced for something
better, I cut those locks,
lift that heavy lid.

Relieved by release,
I bloom into flame,
gasoline on a spark of truth.

Copyright ©2011 Moriah Erickson

Three Crows Laughing

I wake up mornings
to frost on the panes, the cold bite
of October fresh and sometimes
horns honking, the growl
of the garbage truck slinking down the road.
The sun hits my knees
in a sliver that creeps across my lap.
I canít lay here long.
The dogs are restless, whining
at the door, one pawing
my side of the bed. Why
they wonít wake
my husband, his snores on
repeat as I sit up, is beyond me.
His skeleton rests in his long-abandoned
husk, just bones they donít want
to chew. I am fresh
though, and get nipped on the way
to the door, prodded by two cold
noses, as if I can go any faster.
My feet are bare.
The grass is wet.
The dirt from the kitchen floor sticks
to my soles, I grit
to the coffee pot, happy
the dogs made it to the fence without pissing on the floor
this time.
Outside, they disturb someone else
standing at the base
of the apple tree, naked save for
two or three fruit that refused to fall.
They point their noses up,
donít bark, but somehow manage to catch
the eyes of a circling trio
black against the pale morning.
The crows swoop down, I imagine
they feel challenged by dogs,
and light in the top of the apple tree, closer
to the mealy fruit
than dogs could ever dream.

Copyright ©2011 Moriah Erickson