TEACHING MY GODDAUGHTER ABOUT TURKEY BUZZARDS
She's already in college, her hair long as a winter night:
brown-black, thick, half of it striped eight different colors
and twisted into a bun behind her head like the memory
of an impossible dawn. She stands on rocky ground
in front of the house her parents have just bought and
scans the sky for surprises. That's got to be a hawk,
she says. Because there's little else I can still teach her,
I shake my head. Nah. Turkey buzzard, I say. She laughs,
used to that kind of disappointment. See its wings?
Curved. Like scythes! I tell her, proud of an easy simile
that happens to be wrong. Turkey buzzards take nothing
still breathing in the August sun. They are careful bankers
of what's already gone, balancing a homely budget, bulky
and awkward as they crash through the trees to roost. They
are sorrow that recycles itself not into joy but dailiness:
after a night of bad dreams, windows glowing early blue.
Christine Potter is a writer and poet who lives in a very old (and haunted) house on a creek in Rockland County, NY. Her two full-length collections of poetry are Zero Degrees at First Light (2006) and Sheltering in Place (2013). Evernight Teen published her YA time travel novel, Time Runs Away with Her, this past fall. Christine is also station manager at Area24radio.com, a music station for aging children with scratchy LP's, oddball CD's and no burning desire for fame.