Cathartes aura in Opere et Veritate

For David Chorlton

Squat junipers dot valley and mountainside
in the desert view from David’s photo.

Juniper boughs, cool green on the dexter side of the landscape,
some tree, in shadow, arrests a partial symmetry on the sinister.

Symmetry is a human craving, desperate and consoling.
Below notice to the vulture

whose consolation is to perch atop the skeleton
of another juniper, the human camera’s

middle focus.
A purification.

It is desert.
Desert translates light to clean air and arid breeze.

That sere, petrified gray branch will support the vulture
and generations of vultures to come.

The vulture’s bland attention purports a view
that two beings understand the fortunate life of the vulture.

One is the photographer
who frames the subtle asymmetric wonder of the vulture’s world.

The other is the vulture, who sees and tastes that world
and its symmetric Stygian counter-world: like as not the same place.

Ah, but one other being too—an obfuscated interlocutor:
the poet: vulture’s dys-symmetric confidante.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.