Christine Kendall | The Feast

Christine-Kendall-for-webRavens issue the invitation—a raucous one—

throaty voices calling over and over,

their circling flight provides the address;

some sit on fence posts awaiting their turn

but call out—oh, how delectable the feast—

in the deep snow a trail of blood,

is evidence of the coyote’s last steps

near the base of a hill off Upper Beaver Creek.


Party crashers come:  magpies, eagles—

the golden takes his place at the head of the table,

his body ratchets up and down, great beak

tearing flesh—the ravens and magpie nibble

at the periphery, but when the golden eagle

raises a taloned foot or shifts slightly

the smaller birds skitter out of range

of the great bird’s talons or beak.


Nearby three bald eagles perch in trees,

a study in patience, they will take their turns—

the splayed body of the coyote diminishes

bite-by-bite as the birds feast,

and the remains provide sustenance

to less obvious nocturnal visitors, or insects

and will quietly decompose, but presently

the carcass and blood splattered snow

is a busy, noisy place of birds big and small,

of hierarchies and appetites.


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