Carrion Returns

in the place where lightning struck the reindeer
the scientists said: let them lie, let them be
let’s see what hums and grows, what comes and goes
those trophic highs and trough-like lows
what raptors take, what rodents take, taken in turns
what interacts, what retracts
what crawls after
to eat the blowflies that bloom upon the carcass
how the landscape flushes under these caresses
as the scavengers try to save us

but watching reindeer rot is not for the faint of heart
naked feasts of nature don’t sell postcards to tourists
such rankness, such decay: too much for holiday hikers
who want their vacation world free of the business of death
the busyness
the buzziness
the buzzard-full patience of death, sans time-lapse

someday, there will be new trees
where lightning smote and reindeer fell
bush and brush, bursting from berries buried
in the feces
of the predators who fed there
the scavengers who scavenged
the birds who ate the blowflies that bloomed upon the carcass

meantime, meantime,
all this messy in-between
so many skulls for the sun to strip
before the green moves in

by C. S. E. Cooney
10/24/2022

I am writing this poem a few days after reading a truly awe-striking article in The Guardian called “Landscape of Fear.” Further, my friend William Hoffmann recently suggested I use this incredible embroidered art piece “Animalium,” by fiber artist Chris Roberts-Antieau, for a prompt. It reminds him of a mutual friend of ours, dearly beloved of us, who is grieving the sudden and horrifying loss of her sister. There is so little to say in these raw days.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Carrion Returns

  1. sitaluna

    Poetry of reality. I love it. “The buzzard-full patience of death sans time-lapse”

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