On Flag Rock

Poem By Lenny Kates

On Flag Rock

Those distant mountain ranges
Appear to be arcing ‘round me
I move my head to the left
Chin tilted somewhat downward
Slowly scan to rightward

Stop at approximate center
Looking between my feet
To that ostensible apex, some forty miles out there
Continue to scan to the right
Pine trees are there.

Lying on my back on this immense boulder
Feet west. Head hands-pillowed
Left elbow south, Right north.
Spine’s above Earth’s core
Chest’s toward galaxies

Gray clouds are floating by
In a medium to light blue sunlit sky
I’m searching for thunder clouds
None in sight
No longer fearful a lightening bolt will strike me

Listening
Mesmerized
By sounds of light winds
Blowing through leaves and branches
Up here, and down in the valley

Three Turkey Vultures
Lifting, soaring
Spiraling slowly downward
Riding wind currents
Searching for food

They form an arrangement.
Look at me
Move forward, backward
Side to side
Wingtips telepathically touching




Now they’re drop-drifting closer
Looking me over
Assessing if I am dead or dying
If they land on me,
Talons will grasp my flesh.
Each will enfold its raptor-wings
Cloak-like, around its head and breast
To shield its find
While taking a close- up look at the parts of me
It will pick at, tear-off, and swallow

The three are floating
Some forty feet above
And, seeing that I am very much alive
Look up, look down
And side to side

Turn clockwise, and peel off
To continue to search for supper
I lift my head, neck and shoulders
Shift onto my elbows
And watch those Turkey Vultures circling down out of sight

Lying down again, I relax my shoulders
Scan again from left to center
Looking out between my feet.
Watching that yellow-orange sun
Setting in that deep blue sky

Nighttime will come
Hibernation time for humans
When animals other than Turkey Vultures
Will look me over
To figure out if I’m eatable.

I raise my shoulders, back, butt, thighs and calves
Rise up with a push from my hands onto my feet
Stand, stretch, and look around me
Cool air is gently blowing
The Turkey Vultures are below me in the valley






Step, climb, walk,
Jump off Flag Rock.
Walking down this trail,
Listening to hawks whistle, birds singing
Small animals scurrying away from me

Reach the bottom
Head toward the village
With its stores, cars, bikes
Carriages, wheelchairs, and people
I stop, stand, turn and look back up trail.

When my time comes,
I may go to a natural place
To be food for Turkey Vultures, bobcats, coyotes, rodents and insects
Becoming aspects of these other creatures
Without this consciousness and other sensations

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Len Kates
Pittsfield, MA