Cathartes aura, The Turkey Vulture

Your broadcast shadow’s sudden twilight never fails
to spark an apoplectic outrage in these dogs of mine.

They sense a savage message in that silent span,
your scornful hovering approach, your eloquent disdain.

We’d watched that wobbling descent of yours today
upon the fence-post you’d selected at the ridge

out past the orchard wall to sniff the neighboring terrain
for evidence of jellied confiture, of vole or snake or cottontail.

Our daylight’s ghost, you turned away from this world
like a Kliban cat for a good half hour or close to that,

to spite the balling canines at your black derisive back
and contemplate the ground or sky beyond or who knows what.

Metacarpals gathered in a peevish hunch, your gargoyle profile
indistinct, vague as morning’s jacket slung across the fence,

you made the very image of a proud contempt, until some prompting
in the air compelled those elegant dihedrals into the lifting sky,

and all at once you’re launched and nonchalantly sailing overhead,
feathering your pitch and yaw in a freshening breeze, an emperor

enthroned upon the dawn again, restored to vast domains, while we
your umbraged vassals disappear, and you’re as ever suzerain.

DB Jonas is an orchardist living in the mountains of New Mexico. Born in California, he was raised in Japan and Mexico. His work has recently appeared in Tar River, Blue Unicorn, Whistling Shade, Neologism, The Ekphrastic Review, Innisfree Poetry, The Decadent, The Amphibian, Willows Wept, Revue {R}évolution and others.