Last updated: November 30. 2013 5:31AM - 592 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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