A turkey vulture carves a holding pattern overhead,
is called to land by a sweet-smelling carcass
surrendered on the bank.
The children point to it with sprig-like fingers,
smudging the glass. The dread in their eyes
falls not on the small, balled up
body of the dead, but on the bird
that has come to feed: a man
in a black feathered coat, slipping
through the seamless sky—
pale colour of skin, diaphanous
at the inner wrist.
I tug on the threadbare fabric of their shirts
to pull them away, but some strange mother
quick and prophetic, is there before me.
They turn away from the window, from her voice,
to tell me once more of their father last winter,
when he leapt from the dock onto a sheet of passing floe.
Terror and Delight: twin sisters swapping clothes.
That day their father disrobed into epiphany,
and they waved as he sailed downstream
coat held high above his head.