In the late 1800’s as I was growing up
I was considered different to my detriment
I thought about changing, to reinvent
But I liked this person (Ranger by name)
Open-minded, but unyielding
About the life I explore and claim
Relishing night, I was comfortable in vacant corners
Ghosts, skeletons, corpses, the deceased
Were my companions, my constant Spiritual
Sources that nourished and solidified my prediction
This life’s departure leads to a new dimension.

By my late thirties I bowed to my fate
Feeling some regret I would never have a mate
Avoided and shunned because of my profession
A mortician (not someone ordinarily befriended)
Moving in society’s circles was hardly intended
When I turned forty my life was transformed
Raven, Lovely Raven appeared
Understanding and embracing every part of me
Serenely accepting as did I,
The unity of ourselves that was meant to be.

Raven was a vibrant force
So kind, so caring, so warm
Full bosomed, spare but very graceful in form
Her face exquisitely drawn, eyes the color of a stormy dawn
Tall as I, with opulent lips I yearned to taste
Deep black hair descending gloriously below her waist
To all except Raven I was blind
Our joining took root, mirroring each other’s souls and minds
Raven captured the heart and soul no one knew I had
The Supreme Being whoever He may be
Fashioned Raven, I believe, just for me
She gave me the ultimate in joy by adding meaning
To my life in an intensity overwhelming in feeling
She had humor, wit, and a naughty nature
That gave me pleasure, Raven, my cherished treasure.

One day I walked to the village while Raven was sleeping
Planning to surprise her with a hand-crafted gift
Ordered from the goldsmith with no thought for thrift
As I passed the only tavern in the village
Two men came crashing through the doors
Locked together, snarling, kicking, grunting,
Knocking me down I fell underneath them
They fought furiously knives slashing
Curses renting the air, I tried to free myself, struggling,
A deep sharp thrust into my chest, confusion,
Pain, disbelief, then instant comprehension
“Raven”, I whispered, “Raven”.

Ranger was buried several months ago
Each day at sunset I stand by his gravestone
Grief coiling and twisting as I cry
“I am so tired, Oh God, let me die
Oh, Ranger, how I do miss you. Do you miss me, too?
Take a minute and speak to me – oh, please do.
"Is that Ranger calling, calling Raven come to me soon?”
She thinks of Ranger’s life not of his death
Remembering who he was, the quality of his breadth
In wisdom, humor, sensitivity and depth
She recalls how his arms felt, enfolding, caressing
How they came together in ecstasy
Committing to pleasure, but not just in passion
Gifting each other in every way – a blessing.

Raven turns and walks towards the manor
No hesitation evident in her demeanor
In the library a fire gives off a pleasing warmth
A bouquet of sweet fragrant rosemary lies upon the hearth
Raven tours the manor up and down, tears upon her face
Straightening here and over there
Looking at everything, putting it all in place
She changes clothes pulling on the dress Ranger loved best
Down the stairs into the library where she writes a brief note
And then removes something from Ranger’s hanging greatcoat
She snaps a sprig of rosemary and puts it in her hair
Ranger loved rosemary and often tucked a sprig behind his ear

Clouds have deepened and darkened
Thunder rolling closer and rain is coming soon
Raven stands braced against Ranger’s gravestone
Murmuring, “I’m almost there, Ranger, I can’t wait to see you”
She raises a pistol to her head calmly, no indecision, no dread
“Raven, beloved, I have always been nearby
Waiting for you to take the journey to my side”
“I’m here, Ranger, never leave me, never
Together we can now share forever”

The pistol shot was heard by workers harvesting hay
They rushed to see what was happening
Disbelieving, they looked where Raven's body lay
Her arms curled round, embracing
Her husband Ranger's gravestone, smiling.

People who travel the road past the manor
Swear that when skies darken and thunder clouds gather
They see Ranger and Raven strolling together
Their arms wrapped round each other’s waist
Looking happy, free of worry and care
As if they were simply “taking the air”.

Author: Carol Zic
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