Melissa S. Stein
Vultures at Cold Canyon
And now that steady
shhhhh, a knife-edged whistle
announcing what vision can’t
conceive: they are descending
in a shape that is exactly your own
fear, the actual feathers’ flip and mess
and the body’s plummet through
what-is-no-longer-air, but also
body, and the sheer resist of weight—
that sound, and the talons,
and the red throat, the hooked beak
that rips a slit in the sky
and enters it.
Originally appeared in Terra Nova: Nature & Culture.
Melissa S. Stein's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Southern Review, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Gulf Coast, Many Mountains Moving, Seneca Review, North American Review, and many other journals, and have been included in several anthologies. She is a freelance writer and editor in San Francisco.