Cathartes aura

Turkey vulture

Raja Lewis



The Vulture


Lives in the sky & sleeps on the mountain.

She spans a shadow across the desert floor

& eclipses the sun. On the ground is where

you’ll find their eggs & see the naked

reddish head like a turkey.

Nobody wants to sing a song

about vultures or write them into

children’s books. No one likes

to think of its next meal

dead or rotting carrion

along a roadside they’re waiting

patiently for the cars to roll by.

Soaring black wings six feet

outstretched, your grandeur

is in your wings the way

you glide circling the dry open

country. In the sky

your beauty is unspeakable

how you fill the afternoon blue

flying suspiciously investigating

the rock scouting for prey.

Only the eagle & the condor

outsize this vulture

but I’ll take her

in this desert heat

a sign of life above

the silent saguaro, cholla

& the mesquite trees

filled with boisterous

cicada, the smell of rain

so far away.




Raja Lewis is from Kansas and grew up in the western United States. She is interested in sports and poetry. Writing is an everyday practice and she loves it more than anything.