I Feel Old Today

How much longer, God, 
How much longer shall I live?
A hawk circles, circles
Now higher, now lower
Now wide, now narrow
No, not a hawk
A vulture
Searches, waits
Hungry with a wide hunger
Its own language
Wordless but loud
Cracks the vaulted sky
The hungry vulture circles
Waits for the answer
That is death
Over springtime’s soft green shoots
Over summer’s emerald growth
Over fall’s gray brown tree limbs
Over winter’s white cold
The vulture circles
Now higher, now lower
Now wide, now narrow

I remember when I looked up
And saw hawks, falcons, eagles
And felt my body could soar with them
Now, today, I feel old, cold
My neck would hurt, I think,
Were I to look up
And what would I see
Just that vulture, waiting
Waiting for the carrion
That he expects will answer
His hunger

What will answer, finally,
My hunger?
Will my spirit grow
When my body dies?
Is this the short asking inbreath
Before the long answering outbreath?

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