Brian Barker

Lobsters | Turkey Vultures
August 9, 2014 Barker Brian



In the depths of the sea they will eat the sea and outgrow the world’s largest pot. They will flash one claw for seizing skee balls, beauty queens, crowbars, and French cigarettes. They will wield a second for crushing padlocks, testicles, school buses, and cops. At night we will hear them on the roof and in the attic, clacking away like an escadrille of vulturous typewriters. We will find them clinging to curtains, curled beneath beds, wedged into air conditioning ducts. Some of them will prefer to sit upright in armchairs, basking ceremoniously in the glow of reading lamps. When we tiptoe closer, they will grind the three teeth hidden in their stomachs. They will flex their speckled mandibles in a frantic gesture of loneliness and menace.



Turkey Vultures


They will reek of tire fires and scorched fur. Their heads, shrunken by boredom, will be like desiccated beets skewered by the sun. They will descend forever, singed dirigibles corkscrewing blue skies, dreaming of the tart tartare of armadillo, the rank sinewy tangle of wolf. In a roadside ditch, they will bow their mummified faces into the steaming bowl of a body and eat, and raise them again, their blood-red hoods lacquered redder by blood. At night, they will roost in a forest of metal trees, black pineapples ripening in the moonlight, downy cocoons waiting to be kicked open by an angel. They will be the first and last foreboding: spangles of soot blown away in a gust.

Brian Barker is a poet and artist from Denver, Colorado. He is the author of three books of poetry, Vanishing Acts, The Black Ocean, and The Animal Gospels. His poems have appeared in such journals as Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, American Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, and The Washington Post. His collages have been selected three times for the National Collage Society’s annual juried shows and have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Jet Fuel Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Visible Binary. He teaches at the University of Colorado Denver, where he is a poetry editor of Copper Nickel. Learn more at