Gregarious in hunger, a flock of twenty
turn circles like whorls of barbed wire,
no spot below flown over uncanvassed.
The closer to death the closer they come,
waiting on wings with keen impatient
perseverance, dark blades lying in wake
until age or wound has turned canter
into carcass or near enough for them
to swoop scrupulous in benediction,
land hissing, hopping, tearing, gorging.
no portion, save bone, too durable
to digest. What matters cannot remain.
Ravi Shankar, "Buzzards" from Deepening Groove, published by The National Poetry Review. Copyright © 2011 by Ravi Shankar. Reprinted by permission of Ravi Shankar.
Source: Deepening Groove
(The National Poetry Review, 2011)