The Politics of Vultures
It takes a lot to stir a vulture. It will roost in a tree for hours
to conserve energy, barely shifting its limbs and dull talons.
Don’t expect a representative bird to rise and fly very soon.
Vultures are social creatures, joining committees and venues.
They’re indisposed to independence. If one leaves the group,
three or four will, one coalition at a time, until the sky’s filled.
Vultures are world-class regurgitators, purging stuffed gullets
just to get off ground, or to repulse owl and hawk antagonists.
Minimalists of flight, they surf thermals and trace lazy circles.
Vultures won’t hunt. They will wait to smell out another’s fight,
then show up to pick over bones after the issue’s been settled.
Windbags, dyspeptic, they can only vocalize hisses and grunts.
Once thought capable of foreseeing the future, vultures mostly
navigate by stench. Yet no natural scavengers are shrewder at
seizing their opportunity, like adept parliamentarians of death.