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Vulture


ISSUE:  Autumn 1977

His small white face
is a borrowed death mask
made for someone smaller.
He flies lower than the hawks
and his eyes fasten on what
stays still. He tilts
and leans in the wind
as if he were unsure
which is his better eye.
But best of all
is when he slides down
the funnel-shaped
smell of death.
He seems not to know
how to fold back
his wings for a sudden dive.
He places himself gently
like a shawl on a sleeping child
and then he sinks the anchor
of his beak
into the abandoned mystery
and tastes the meat
reserved for him,
stripping the still figure
back to its bones.
This is what calls to him
as he flies.
Certain bodies,
because death is not enough,
cry out to be stripped
of all their flesh.
Tilting from side to side
the hidden cones of his ears,
lovingly he attends to their cries.

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