Carol Alexander

Turkey vultures are back again, wheeling like drunk cyclists.
Are they constant or a jealous intermittency, whiffing flesh,
a high-smelling cache of bats, of seldom porcupines.
Few Augusts left, and I’ve escaped most harm–
an unfriendly thistle drawing blood, a squashed baby toad.
Things netted, dried, date back to the brash summers here,
long explores and the shimmering residue in pails of ghost crabs.
Gull girls have married into the blue, leaving a faint trail
more durable than meat decaying whitely in the sun,
the prey of Cape buzzards and persisting fat flies.
The dog clings to my shadow, noses scrubby pine.
At the old cemetery, there’s a smell of sanctity. Though
maybe only mushroom rot or the draggled, gem-like moss.