Tuesday poem: Fred D’Aguiar

Vulture Red Letter Day
by Fred D’Aguiar

Vulture days when she feels there’s no wet in the rain

When no two wingbeats sound alike

On such days she should just chill on a ledge and watch worlds fly by,

But no, she be vulture and she won’t let nothing go nowhere,

Not without her say so.

In her mood she pushes from her perch into a breeze full of sweet things.

The moment she leaps she knows she made a big mistake

But one thing leads to another and other things take over

Before she knows it she’s in the thick of a carcass set upon

By a crew drawn from miles around by a smell as rich as any seam,

Crack, crevice, fold, mold, groove.

She pins flesh with feet, lowers head, fails to hear the engine approach.

I’m fortunate to be this week’s Tuesday Poem editor, where you’ll find another poem of Fred D’Aguiar’s displayed in the main page. But when I contacted Fred to ask if I could use one of his poems from his new collection, The Rose of Toulouse, he generously sent me two and asked me to choose between them. And I loved them both, so ‘Saturday, Ocean Creek’ is in the main spot, and ‘Vulture Red Letter Day’ is the one I saved for my own blog.

Fred’s poetry – like his novels, short stories and plays – moves and engages me in resonant and complicated ways. I think that’s partly because of my attempts to make sense of my somewhat chaotic and dislocated life, as well as Fred’s huge talent for shaping recollection and experience into writing that’s both profound and witty. This poem, above, is a perfect example, and I feel I have often been in that vulture’s situation myself!

I’m honoured and delighted to present two of his poems simultaneously, and also to count him as a friend. Thanks, Fred.

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