“Cathartidae” by Lynn Tudor Deming
They were feeding on its torso, a yearling
By the road in its mottled winter coat,
Long hair grizzling the face so its muzzle
Was thickened, more like a dog’s–the eyes open.
Drawn from their thermals by the scent of death,
They straddled the ribs with their talons,
White beaks plucking the flesh, a flock
Of silent purifiers with no syrinx.
When a car passed they rose into the trees,
Huddling in their red hoods.
They left perfect incisions–one each
For gullet, liver, heart–the eyes taken.
The body was barely touched, fur unsullied,
Sky drifting blind in the sockets.
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Lynn Tudor Deming’s Artist Statement: Lynn’s chapbook, “Heady Rubbish,” was selected by Robert Pinsky for the Philbrick Poetry Prize in 2005. In 2014 she was a semi-finalist in the Crab Orchard First Book Contest. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Atlanta Review, Bellingham Review, and New South. In 2015 she was awarded an International Publication Prize by Atlanta Review, and was a 2014 finalist in the 49th Parallel Award for Poetry. She was also national runner-up in the 2011 Cape Cod National Poetry Competition (judge Gerald Stern). Other honors include a residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and two commendations in the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition. She holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and currently lives in Connecticut with her cat Billy.