High up, circling, they’re miniature,
but how quickly they spot a wound’s aperture.
With profane style and brazen gait,
ragged-out like sorcerers, they gorge
and glut—they’ll even swallow
bones and teeth, help themselves
to eyes, noses and other birds’ gizzard stones.
Yes, they rid us of stinking flesh—
but I can’t stop feeling disgust at how
they savour the brains, the entrails
with equal relish, peck the anus, the face
with equal appetite. I can’t stop my distress
at their insouciance if the carcass
they maraud is gazelle, child, or rabid dog.
Judith Beveridge is the author of seven collections of poetry. Her new and selected poems, Sun Music, was published in 2018. She was poetry editor for Meanjin during 2005-15.