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.