by Hayden Rigby
The day I stop loving you is the day the vultures show up. My grandfather always told me it was a myth that they circle around animals that are dying, but then why is a group of them called a wake?
I hear them first, then look out my window to see their hunched tombstone bodies creating a black feather graveyard in my front yard.
They look starving. I stay inside and imagine tiny vultures circling the drain of my sink while I’m washing dishes, even though I’m trying to forget about the vultures just like how I’m trying to forget about the way the flamingos at the zoo smell, and forget about the documentary I watched on how chicken nuggets are made. I try to forget that I am flightless.
The vultures won’t stop following me, so I string the horrible kites behind me as I drive across the city, until a vulture flies right under the wheels of my car while going 80 down I-10. In a self-sacrificing suicide, I hear him tell the others, “Eat this – this is my flesh.” How strange to witness death decay. I drive past my exit. I pray for the roadkill. I divide into my body until I am dust on my dashboard. Until I am sugar dissolving into the memory of scraping your grapefruit heart clean with a silver spoon.
Hayden Rigby is a senior studying creative writing at Louisiana State University. Her favorite thing about living in Baton Rouge is interning with Forward Arts, a non-profit organization that fosters personal and social transformation among high schooler through poetry. Hayden was the winner of both the Dara Wier Poetry Award and the Matt Clark Award in 2018. She has been published in the Delta Literary Journal, Gravel Magazine, Gravitas, Angry Old Man Magazine, and Snapdragon Journal.
Artist: J.P. Ormiston