Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 8 . . .


From a distance, they seemed hawks,

gliding in slow turns

wings spread in summer’s white-blue sky—

dark blots against heat waves.

We climbed suede hills

on fire roads

before veering onto foot paths.

It was the first time

I had ever seen you in a hat—

nearly two decades without covering.

Today’s heat had beaten the worship from you,

and the sun had already kissed you too much,

baked your speckled shoulders.

Our trail crested and rolled left and down.

Then we found their home—

skeletal electrical tower

buzzing like flies.

Eight, nine ten, their raw meat heads

with black eyes studied us—peered inside.

Some hunched; others spread and ruffled feathers,

all watching.

Above a few wheeled 

while another glided down—suddenly, painfully, slowly


It would be easy to say we had met death, but that’s

too simple

because I suddenly found my hand in yours,

a warm soft fleshy remainder of future days, of now,

of this heart beat.

Vulture?  Hawk?  Did it matter?  Why this fear?

Consider the hawk: ripping life from a body before its time,

Crushing and consuming with cruel talons. 

And the vulture?

I looked at you beneath the hat’s shade,

flushed from heat, slightly red cheeks, eyes sharp,

chest bringing in another breath and who knows how

many more.

You steadily

look back through the years.

I’ll take the vulture.

by Tim Shell

Tim Shell loves running long distances and writing. Many of his ideas come to him at mile 10. For a living, he teaches others to write.

© 2007 Tim Shell