Last updated: November 30. 2013 5:31AM - 606 Views

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Neil Carpathios

Contributing Columnist

Poetry’s duty is to surprise us. We long for the poet, in some way, to lift the veil of the ordinary allowing us to see something in a new light. Too many poems deal with the same subjects and fail to jolt the mind.

Kevin LeMaster writes from South Shore, Ky. He offers a poem that, I guarantee, will force you to never see its subject in quite the same way.

The Leavings

When the vultures circle,

after they have located

that which they cannot kill,

they fall gently to earth

like leaves, or feathers,

or baby birds that never see

the pavement from overhead,

and they graze the pink flesh

with piranha-like mouths

until the absence of life

fills up their beaks

and they must swallow.

They are nature’s beautification

program, keeping the streets clean

so the unions do not have to pay

overtime, and carcasses do not

have to litter these bloated avenues.

Who would have ever considered the common vulture as “nature’s beautification program?” The answer is, a poet. The answer is, Kevin LeMaster. “Piranha-like mouths.” “Bloated avenues.” What fine images. Thanks to this local wordsmith for lifting the veil and letting us see something with new eyes.

Address poem submissions and correspondence to: ncarpathios@shawnee.edu or Neil Carpathios, Shawnee State University, Dept. of English & Humanities, 940 Second Street, Portsmouth, OH 45662. (740-351-3478).

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