Not Entirely Lacking A Domicile
Osprey trailing a thin branch, treetop high,
repeating every few minutes, on schedule
to finish a nest larger than the homes
of the rootless beings I used to see
waking in the park beside my office.
Feral creatures, well past their breeding years
by dint of their minds or toxic habits,
they seemed no more than wary scenery.
Across the river the sun nestles down
in a bed of shady pines. The sky glows
like a wick just as the flame escapes it.
A slight traffic of herons, homeward bound,
changes shifts with swifts, who give way to bats.
I’ve not returned to Franklin Square at dawn
nor seen the sunset there for several years,
nor think that species even values tears.
While running I saw two vultures landing
atop a new house to escape the crows’
harmless yet irritating attentions.
A girl at the bus stop noticed them, too,
but I could not presume an acquaintance
based on black vultures, handsome though they be.
And they were: black scalps and iron hooked beaks,
above not only crows but even us
as they paced down a million dollar roof
as if they owned it, as in fact they own
everything their talons touch or shadow.
I passed around the block. The girl had gone
and the great wings spread broadly on the draft
from the near apartments, patches glowing.
M. A. Schaffner has had poems published in Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, and elsewhere — most recently in Former People, Raintown Review, and Rock River Review. Long-ago-published books include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia juggling a laptop, smart phone, percussion caps, pugs, and a Gillott 404.
Copyright © 2016 by Michael Schaffner