Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Richard Taylor: "Wild Turkeys"

Rushed to reach the dentist's
and scratch one more item
off my list of things to do,
I hurry down the porch steps,
stopping, car door half open,
as I glance beyond the porch steps,
to see not one or two but seven turkeys
foraging on the hillside,
lean, each cupped in its feathery sheen
like ancient scales or bark,
each going its own unruffled way,
wattled bills picking who knows
what—seeds or insects—
except one preening in the sunlight,
wings flexed open in airy languor,
clear ground between it
and anything like harm.
They gabble. They dip
with each mincing step
as though warming to flightlessness,
Slowly, in some long association
dyed deep in the wing,
in a tongue for which
there are no words,
they answer to light,
working their way upward
toward the treeline at the crest,
past the furry shadow of a lone cedar.
Whichever way they turn is home.

"Wild Turkeys" by Richard Taylor, from Rain Shadow (Broadstone Books, 2014). Text as published by The Writer's Almanac (7/24/2014).

Art credit: Untitled photograph by The National Wild Turkey Federation.

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