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The Vulture

Artwork by Isabelle Lu, staff artist

I asked, at first, if it might come for us.

Picture the pretense of carrion. Picture

dropping dead, much like willows drop

their limbs into water. Well, just think of

the headlines, you teased, DEATH BY

SUBURBAN BIRD. So we watched it,

neck hook-bent, gnawing at the lump

in the grass, and I think of how in this

space we salvaged, I wished to be air-

tight, free from the stench of July with

its earthy itch and blaring sheen of life.

Still, I lay close to you. Still, the wind

swept its wide palms over the canopy,

and I forgot about whatever was trying

out our skin, the beetles with their big,

marbled wings, the motes of red mites,

the nip of dirt and dew. I think of our

bodies, made from the ground beneath

us, and I think I’d like to be the vulture,

to dig into the flesh of these moments,

the ones that die as we live them. I’m

greedy. You know this: I always want

more, always, and suddenly I want to

gobble up the summer, the sloping of

your chest, our hands creasing the sky,

the bird taking its time. I want to point

and say, Look, look, at the way it stops

for just a second, then swallows.

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