Poems by Patricia Keough Wilson

09

A Ballet in the Sky

Freedom on the wing
the majestic bird opens wingspan
to full stretch, soars, lifts, swoops,
a ballet in the sky.

Now there are two,
or is it three?

I watch from my living room chair,
their beauty a distraction from
the Sunday newspaper on my lap.
Molly, my small Boston Terrier
lifts her head, assumes alert pose,
studies the sky through
 the open porch door.
Can she possibly hear the
slice of those wings
through the air or
sense some disturbance?

Stand, look out the door,
there the tree behind
my neighbor’s house
is full of vultures.
My husband counts,
“Over 24,” he says,
opening the door
to alert the neighbor
to beauty lured there
by certain death.

How can birds of such beauty
dancing gracefully
in the air look so
menacing, grouped in a tree.
They have the look of death
hunched over, all dark and brooding.
Yet they are polite or have some
sort of understood way of
taking turns, sharing
the small dead animal,
too mangled to even identify.
It is a carcass to us; supper to them.
Then they are gone as suddenly as they came.
Visitors of beauty and grace
combined with a reminder
that death comes to us all.

 

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