Mornings, a buzzard works alone,

coroner of the county roads.

He works for the state;

he has the right of way.

At noon he stands

on the ruin of an elm,

wings spread wide, his neck

arched to the sun as if

he were the ornament

on a long black limousine.

The buzzard is inviting light

into his embrace, as lice

escape from his cloak.

Where two or three are gathered

on a thermal in the afternoon,

it's not for want of carrion.

It's just everything, everywhere,

cloying the air they soar

for pleasure, for the touch

of their shadows against the fields.

Their work is easy and can wait.

Buzzards sleep late,

huddled in their cloaks

in the branches of a locust—

a candelabrum lit with black flames.

When finally they blossom

onto the morning air,

the scrape of their wings in the branches

is the scent they leave.