On the Deck
Wrens trill, blue jays scream warning.
A black racer scaling the tree? The branch sways,
perhaps the red-shouldered hawk waits for a nestling.
Thunder grumbles, chickadees fuss.
In the woods, ferns wait for rain.
Jays attack the sitting hawk until she flies,
showing her striped tail.
A distant call, her mate hunts.
Only wind as the storm approaches.
Black Vultures Roost
on the cell phone tower.
Sun squeezes through breaking clouds.
Birds lurch into heated air with wings
meant for soaring. From the sky,
they see their targets, carcasses,
dead eyes staring into infinity,
necks torn to the spine.
Dusk falls, the hunters labor into the air.
From all directions, they float
on dying thermals to roost. In darkness,
they clean death from their dark bodies.
Rain collects on the outer feathers.
In the morning, they open their wings
to dry, wait for the heated air to carry
them aloft to clean the earth of the dead.
Barbara Brooks, author of “The Catbird Sang” chapbook, studied with Cathy Smith Bowers and is a member of PoetFools. She has had work accepted in Hospital Drive, Margie Review, Broken Plate, and Third Wednesday, on line at Marco Polo, Earthborne on line among others. She is a physical therapist at UNC Hospitals and lives in Hillsborough, N.C.