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Wild Turkeys

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Wild Turkeys

Brian Topping

I imagine he’s listening to Wild Cherry,
play that funky music white boy,
darting his head forwards then backwards with a
slight pause before repeating the move,
as he trots along the snow searching for the fruit
his mother has dropped from the tree.

I stand at a college campus surrounded by nature,
no stranger to birds, deer, and an army of squirrels.
I smoke my cigarette in solitude,
no students running late to class, no professors rushing
to get a last-minute copy into duplicating services.

I didn’t know wild turkeys could fly.
An awkward flutter of the wings to propel
them forward, sure, but truly fly, almost vertically,
to reach the height at which the fruit is still growing
among the frozen, January trees.

The mother, perched atop a set of branches,
which surely groaned by the weight of her,
grasping at limbs with her beak and
shaking them to loosen the rare treat of
the still-edible maroon berries.

Her children scamper about
in their funky chicken walk
to collect what little morsels
become buried in the snow below.

I stood there wondering how few people,
walking briskly from class to class,
focused on last night’s text message
or if the new jeans made her butt look big,
would stop to watch these turkeys feed and be fed.

I drew the last puff from my cigarette, exhaled,
extinguished it, before I could come to any answers,
turning to walk away, I suddenly realized
that I let the final inhalation of a cigarette dictate
when this event would end for me.

The turkeys would continue their pecking in my absence,
they did not need my observations
to validate they were eating.

I don’t know when I began to let such trifle actions,
or reactions, rule my life,
and I began to wonder how many experiences
I had missed because I allowed
the end of one action to dictate another.