The hunt, for both, was empty
as the light blue sky . . .
the solitary gull and the eagle, at day’s end,
find what little remains
from the ice fisherman’s bucket;
the gull landing first.
For an awkward moment they stand apart;
nervous, the gull steps forward, nips a tidbit . . .
and flies off.
Like a flightless bird, the eagle shuffles the few feet
to its meager fare, pulls a bite from the ice,
and then . . . very slowly . . . gathers itself
and rises up into the sky grown pale,
great wings circling
toward a tall, familiar pine . . .
the great bird once more.
Enough to reduce, yet not dispel,
a ripe awareness
that neither gull nor eagle,
even in the dead of winter –
can well do the vulture’s work.