Justine and the Raven

Justine and Blake are sitting in a noisy diner in Palmer, down from the mine with the owner and his wife for a supply run. Blake had suggested the “women” come along to shop, not realizing that shopping in Palmer, Alaska  in 1941 meant the feed store, so the women had strolled around the rough little town in quiet conversation. Justine enjoyed the owner’s wife’s company (whose name was Sarah) though they didn’t speak about lofty things or weighty things. Just things. What Justine had always thought were women things. Once the men came back with the mine truck loaded high and unwieldy, they had all stomped merrily into the diner for a high starch dinner of potatoes, potatoes, potatoes, cabbages and beef (potatoes and cabbages were one of the few crops that flourished and tasted sweet and rich this far North).

The conversation and the day was so pleasant to Justine. She kept smoothing her lavender dress as she sat in the stiff-backed booth and smiling to herself even when she wasn’t joining in with the others. A warmth had spread from the crown of her raven feather head to the soft area behind her knees. Her indiscretions with Adam felt like a planet away, and as she looked at Blake’s beautiful jawline moving up and down as he spoke, chewed, laughed, smirked, and smiled at her, she thought she might reconsider their decision not to try for children.

They hadn’t tried at all. She knew her body’s rhythms, Blake knew when to say when. He knew about her lost twins of course so he didn’t push her, though he longed to see his boy or his girl swimming around her eyes, swelling and rounding her figure.  But Blake was kind, he was gentle, so he didn’t push her.

The conversation started to go into a bee-like hum and buzz, and the three parties speaking grew animated over the trouble in Europe. Justine felt proud to be alive and to be where she was sitting, with these good looking and fine people. She felt bold and wise and strong. She felt so good, she sent a message with feathers to God that she was ready to have another baby, one that she could keep. One with Blake. She smiled at the sky and mountains out the broad diner window, and just before she went to rest her head on Blake’s shoulder a raven fell off of the diner roof; dead before it hit the sidewalk below.


"... all my lovers were there with me, all my past and futures."

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