Sky Burial


Standing ‘mongst the dogs, all

squint of eye and crane of neck until I named the

circling turkey buzzard speck of cumulus nimbus.

Such scavengers bring me pause.

Earth was lying easy on her back and breathing into

blue, a thermal sigh, Creation lifting bird and

wonder to where this one might fly. The

expanse so vast along the glaciered seam of

plains and mountains, distance and the

silence held still a dusky moment for the

bird to preen in copper light on rocky

moraine, preparing for its earnest work. In Tibet,

whether monk or peasant, in breaching death,

the empty vessel is washed in water, in

prayer, carried by solemn procession into thinning

air, laid prone, left alone, sacred fare, shared by

vultures as spirit migrates to a new birth, born again

somewhere. If we are attending to the way, we

pass through many deaths. Birds can

be a sign of such transitions. Yes, the buzzard

had me thinking I was once a starling lost

in false murmurations. Today, my name is

lone hawk on bare limb.

2 thoughts on “Sky Burial

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