In his binoculars, the man thought he saw a circling
of eagles, but I saw turkey vultures.
Something nearby was dead. Eat or be eaten. Once
in Botswana, we watched a pride scrabbling in
a buffalo carcass as the lion and his mate, sated
yet alert for vultures or hyena, lay nearby.
This man, to his pride known as the garbage-man
or clean-up man, scavenged left-over food from all
our plates. Now appetite and senses dulled, he eats less,
forgets waste, dead meat, the words for vulture,
hawk, osprey. When he scans the sky with binoculars,
the only name that remains is eagle, the eagle. . . .
Susan Terris’ most recent book is GHOST OF YESTERDAY: NEW & SELECTED POEMS (Marsh Hawk Press). She's the author of 6 books of poetry, 15chapbooks, and 3 artist's books. Journal publications include The Southern Review, Denver Quarterly, FIELD , The Drunken Boat, Poetrybay, and Ploughshares. A poem of hers from FIELD appeared in Pushcart Prize XXXI. She's editor of Spillway Magazine. Her chapbook MEMOS was published by Omnidawn in 2015. A poem from this was selected for Best American Poetry 2015. Omnidawn will publish TAKE TWO: FILM STUDIES in2017.