Monday, November 16, 2009

Kamikaze Turkey! Poem, "Turkey Heaven"

Most of us have seen a sparrow or some other diminutive bird fly into the house and break its neck against a window. A common occurrence, one might say.

But the other day I witnessed something extraordinary.

There is a flock of wild turkeys near our home and I often let my dog chase them. They rise in flight in their ungainly way, and though they outweigh him they suffer from inter-species fright and flutter away. Anyway, when J. Alfred (my dog, see picture) took off after them all rose and flew SW except for one old Tom who rose and flew NE towards the cottages. I heard a resounding crash and thought "No, it couldn't be." Then I walked to my neighbor's and there was a large window broken and the turkey, splayed on the ground, its neck bent, reflexively flapping and moving its feet in a death spasm like a pithed frog animated by electric current. I took two nearby feathers for a souvenir of the Kamikaze. He wasn't suicidal, just confused. But a fifty-pound bird crashing into your window? Too bad Hitchcock didn't think of it. One turkey would have smashed the phone booth in which Tippie Hedren took refuge.

I have tried to publicize this menace through my liberal friends, those who legislate helmets and seat belts and food additives, the mommy brigade, but none thought my crusade as valid as the end of 2 million lawn dart sets after one boy was killed.

Who will protect us from flying turkeys? Certainly there should be government regulations against the danger. Call your state representative today!

Here's a recent poem about turkeys:

Turkey Heaven

Three wild turkeys
foraged above the leach field,
pulling their great teardrop bodies
behind like U-Haul trailers
as if their red pistoning heads
propelled them forward,
chest feathers dangling
in long pendants.

In shadow, grave, funereal
they stepped lightly forward
as if avoiding pebbles
like Puritans in a queue
treading carefully over sins
to meet a god unappeased
by burnt offerings.

I thought of Mather and Edwards
in long frock coats
filing forward to the altar,
heads heavy with theology,
pulling congregants behind,
dark bodies hauled to heaven.

But when the birds broke into sunlight
they were transformed
by brass and crimson highlights
etched in metallic green,
equal to any peacock
raising his paisley fan.

If metaphors could fly, they flew
at my dog’s frenzied approach,
oversized wings pumping,
boulder bodies rising,
gravity upended
in a miraculous roosting.

All for today. At one kilobunny,


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