Another poem, which was selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of 44839: Poetry From a Zip Code, was “Full Circle.” The anthology was published by Drinian Press, LLC in conjunction with the Huron Public Library and its poet laureate program. I share it here.
Traveling down route 13,
we see, in the sky, turkey vultures
Several harbingers of death
circling above the earth.
There’s probably road kill ahead,
perhaps a raccoon,
considering the number I’ve seen lately
along highways and roads.
But rounding the bend in the road,
It’s a turkey vulture,
killed, with feathers askew,
caught in the act of being itself.
For those above, is it carrion instinct
to wait until the coast is clear,
opting to cannibalize their own?
Or is it a vigil?
Mourning the loss…
Of a mate (one with whom they mated for life)?
Or a parent,
or a brother or sister?
Do they mourn as we do?
Grieving our own losses
of spouse, parent, sibling, or child?
They continue to circle—
Others join the first few.
Gliding, riding the air waves,
the vigil for the dead continues.
Perhaps, I will never know the reason why,
or the answers to my questions.
Why they mourn, how they mourn,
And if they mourn as we do.
I’d like to think they do…
~Nancy Brady, 2018
Most people are not fond of turkey vultures, which are also known as buzzards. They may even find them abhorrent, but I think they have a nobility all their own. In fact, they are celebrated each March in Hinckley, Ohio when they return. Another poem about turkey vultures is entitled “Return to earth” and was written for Earth Day quite a few years ago. It can be found in Three Breaths, which was published in 2006 by Drinian Press, LLC.
Return to earth
Reduce, recycle, reuse,
the bird, not celebrated,
(except in Hinckley)
follows the premise.
Gliding, winging its way
fields and highways–
to winter’s detritus.
The reaper’s shadow
watches for death,
gliding and soaring on thermals,
joined now by companions.
tearing at decaying flesh,
ripping from bones.
of raptor hawk
feast on leftovers.