From the Forest Comes the Call
—for Lennart, 12/25/2009
He’d called upon the owl one too many times,
so the turkey vulture flew down to serve
as keeper of the forest, diviner of fortune,
haruspex standing watch over a buck’s
spilled entrails, patch of snow gathered at its feet
melting into augury of spring, a spring
with no guts left to tell what comes.
Before the snow was gone, coyote and crows
had finished the feast, licked ribs clean,
but not before winter’s vulture saw
spring’s biopsied blossoms blooming pink,
saw white blossoms bleed, leukocytes
multiply then fall away like petals.
Saw ischemia, saw the scoliotic weeping tree
bend to its arthritis, saw vitreous humor
detach from sky, saw clouds no longer hiding
from the MRIs, saw C. difficile, saw son,
wife, brother, sister, mother, father,
son’s father-in-law all falling from the plum.
Now the owl is back. They say she can see
things we can’t, but from the forest
comes the call, Who? Who?, and he knows
that she can’t see any more than he who’s next.