The raccoon at the roadside lifts it head a little but its splattered torso refuses to follow.
Does an entire lifetime of foraging and gnawing, mating and birthing, flash before its eyes I wonder or is death just one more thing to be foraged, gnawed, mated with, given birth to.
Turkey vultures circle. They don't ponder the raccoon's sudden remonstrance with being. They're hungry and other creatures just die when they do.
Meanwhile, we humans overstate ourselves with ceremony. A wake here, a funeral there, a priest staring solemnly into an open pit reciting, deep basso, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and forty friends and relatives draped in the darkest colors in their closet.
We figure our lives register. We give credence to the cars that run us over. We sanctify the roadside we're crushed into. We don't lift our heads. The gathering does that for us. Our blood dries in our fur. We call the turkey vultures angels.
ABED - Three Stages
What did I mean when I dreamed a crown on a bleeding head a diseased hooker, invading aliens, faces that pluck like bass strings -
luxurious flower, skin upon skin, meaning comes quite that way to be here - memories go out to greet it, so why is the sex always cold -
eyes widen, deepen, needy arms only know how to beg, shadows seep into the floor, the walls, thoughts tongue sandpaper dry - words cut themselves on my lips as you leave such a subtle revolution.
Dave picked us up in his truck. We didn't look like the kind who'd be interested but he told his stories anyhow, how he rode the ranges in his youth, on horseback, moving cattle from pasture to railhead. He rambled on about how hard life was, hot heartless days, chilly nights sleeping on rocks. Bit by a rattler once, a scorpion twice, even shot in the arm by rustlers. He tracked, he shoed, he kicked up a desert's worth of dust, all in the name of putting fresh meat on the table of an ungrateful country. Dave let us off in Albuquerque. We thanked him but just for the ride.
Bio: John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Silkworm work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.