Under the Vulture-Tree
By David Bottoms
We have all seen them circling pastures,
have looked up from the mouth of a barn, a pine clearing,
the fences of our own backyards, and have stood
amazed by the one slow wing beat, the endless dihedral drift.
But I had never seen so many so close, hundreds,
every limb of the dead oak feathered black,
and I cut the engine, let the river grab the jon boat
and pull it toward the tree.
The black leaves shined, the pink fruit blossomed
red, ugly as a human heart.
Then, as I passed under their dream, I saw for the first time
its soft countenance, the raw fleshy jowls
wrinkled and generous, like the faces of the very old
who have grown to empathize with everything.
And I drifted away from them, slow, on the pull of the river,
reluctant, looking back at their roost,
calling them what I'd never called them, what they are,
those dwarfed transfiguring angels,
who flock to the side of the poisoned fox, the mud turtle
crushed on the shoulder of the road,
who pray over the leaf-graves of the anonymous lost,
with mercy enough to consume us all and give us wings.
Wednesday was another gorgeous day! There were bunnies and chipmunks and squirrels out enjoying themselves and I got to have all the windows and doors open. I spent the morning and early afternoon doing unexciting work, then I repaired a pair of earrings with carnelian beads so I could wear them with the carnelian necklace I inherited from my sister. Then Paul and I went out to dinner with Angela and Kevin (the plan was Blaze Pizza, but there was an entire high school sports team in line in front of us, so we went to the food court instead)!
Yet again I am giving Arrow a chance, though I must confess to disappointment that my number one reason for watching, John Barrowman, did not appear in this episode even if another special guest star did. Still, it was less manipulative than Nashville, which was particularly Dallas-y this week; only Scarlett's interrupted song in the hospital chapel justified my love. (Hey, we already knew the Cubs were going to win!) When we were at Great Falls last weekend, the buzzards had found something very interesting down in the rocks which we couldn't see: