Jan/Feb 2020 Poetry Special Feature

Turkey Vulture

by Stephanie Harper

Borrowed image

Turkey Vulture

My amore's eyes this evening shine
with glints of the half-risen moon

when he scents the fresh carrion
of a fat roadkill raccoon, extends his wings,

lifts off from a live oak branch,
& contemplatively hovers on a thermal

just as the summer sun's
last caress of the tiny pine boughs
brush-stroked black on the horizon
smolders the west's slate pall crimson,

with all the aplomb of an Olympian
he touches down

on a tuft of weeds sprouting
beside the darkening

pile of guts splattered & smeared
onto the highway's shoulder,

& observes a long moment's vigil
with a subtly fierce fluffing
of his opalescent, brown-black vestments
in a sacramental ruffle to proclaim the good
news of his spread—

into a ripe cavity of which he promptly
dips his ruddy, wrinkled head,

while i witness through the car window

& am blessed.


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