Vulture

The vultures circle again today,

reminder of being wanted,

and of the transit and habits

of want, the ascent of the heart.

The heart climbs a hill, does not

have a vulture’s view—

which is a god’s eye view,

but with wings and sight and scent.

You are mostly bird, he said.

Mostly leaf, I think.

The vultures used to bring

a pang of grief: a calf born too soon.

Children, we would lay down

in a field or along the road,

wait for the grey birds

to come for our bodies.

But they never came;

they were never interested.

Now the vulture is a heart

flung up, it circles when it sees

nothing. Then it circles again.


Hannah VanderHart lives in Durham, North Carolina, under the pines. She has poetry, nonfiction and reviews published in Kenyon Review, The American Poetry Review, Poetry Northwest, The Adroit Journal, RHINO Poetry, and elsewhere. Her book, What Pecan Light, is forthcoming from Bull City Press in Spring 2021, and she is the reviews editor at EcoTheo Review.