Joseph Murphy: Dining With The Vultures (poetry)
Southern Legitimacy Statement: My wife and I own a 130 acre farm in Franklin, Tennessee. We have a parcel of horses and grow grass, i.e. hay. Before we bought the spread the only way to the house was across a ford. We put in a covered bridge over the creek and renamed the place “Covered Bridge Farm”. Still the only connection between our street (North Lick Creek Road) and it’s neighbor, South Lick Creek Road, is by ford.
All of the buildings on the place, other than the house, are in various states of decay, with the barn standing on one precarious leg. Electricity arrived here in 1946. My neighbor still has her certificate of membership into the cooperative.
There are a large number of cattle on my neighbor’s farm. They keep a mule with them to protect against wolves and coyotes. I almost had a fight with a beaver yesterday, but as our paths crossed, we both scurried away.
The nearest store is ancient. Sweet people. They don’t accept credit cards.
Dining With The Vultures
The vultures on my street and creek eat
Dinner tonight, for example, was breathtaking.
On the appetizer front there was a savory pate of
armadillo liver warmed to perfection by the
summer sun. Small cubes of baby turtle mixed
with bits of shell were especially well regarded by
this evening’s guests. Slices of raccoon belly
were displayed in a rare brilliance of color and a
complex fragrance of stench on a bed of birch
The soup of the day was bisque of young bird with a
delicate sprinkling of week killer hued by
ribbons of toxic chemicals.
Two entrees were featured. There was a grass-
encrusted squirrel with a maple and buckeye
leaf garnish. Also available was
a lovely mule appropriately cooled by a
fetid pool of contaminated rain water,
infected by worm and insect excrement, and
bathed in a tangy sauce of slime.
Side dishes included a weed risotto in a pungent
manure stock and a spring
casserole comprised of layers of hay and
bits of frog seasoned with leaf mold
Bat fondue with fungus broth rounded out
I was told after by a friend that the meal
vastly exceeded the expectations of even
the most demanding guest.