The Vulture In Me

by Rachel Creager Ireland

I suppose you’re interested to hear about Austin, what I’m doing, perhaps what lizards and birds I’ve met so far, but no. This is a poem from last year that no one wants to publish. Take it or leave it.

The Vulture In Me

I bought the old Toyota with borrowed money
that I never paid back. Made in 1985,
the year I graduated from high school,
which was even then long past, enough to
show the world that I wasn’t going to
make much of the college education I’d been given.
I felt at home behind that wheel,
Hair flying under the sunroof, hand on the
gear-shift. Crooked seat made even
with a red pillow. Oil leak dripping at every mile.

I’ve never bought a new car, never been worthy
of such extravagance of fossil fuel, knew I’d never
make good the debt to future generations.
I only buy what no one else wants,
finish it off and send it to its grave
after extracting the last bit of use.

These buildings should have been gutted,
but we didn’t. We lived with vintage modernity
and learned plumbing. And clothes, too.
These thrift store shoes have wear left in them.
This chipped plate will serve.
Always a latecomer, mostly by choice,
and I am conscientious about proper disposal.
Recycle, upcycle, repurpose, rehome,
break down and find someone who wants the parts.

Perhaps it is the vulture in me,
scavenger of the discarded, packrat, sin eater,
never the hunter who sees what he wants,
shoots straight, and
takes the best.