Wings uplifted in a V
they soar in wobbly circles,
riding thermals
to scan the countryside,

or steered by smell
they glide low,
their shadows gracing
pastures, dumpsters,
the black tablecloths
of highways.

A fresh kill
will draw a wake,
bald heads bobbing,
hooked bills tearing
into any sick
or breathless thing.

At night they retreat
to the skeletons
of hollow trees,
their only song a dirge
of grunts and hisses.