The buzzard doesn’t hit the windshield
so much as swim across, talons skittering,
tail feathers fanned, a swooping rush
of black, white and rust-brown –
the driver and I fling arms up and duck.
The vehicle swerves, but there’s no road,
no oncoming traffic, just flat hard-pack
where sand used to be and will come again.
The others in the backseat yell out,
want to know what’s happening,
but the buzzard disappears as abruptly
as it came. The driver clasps his turban,
no longer shy and distant, flashes me
a wide-eyed smile. We both hoot a laugh.
He will go back to looking ahead,
fingering wooden prayer beads looped
on the steering wheel, but the sands
have shifted. The ride is smooth.
Ann Farley, poet and caregiver for the elderly, is happiest outside, preferably at the beach. Her work has appeared in Verseweavers, KOSMOS, and Timberline Review, among others. She lives in Beaverton, OR, and she walks her dog every morning before dawn, whether it’s raining or not.