The gulls cluster on the sea—carrion,
these winter days. It is hard to tell
how they differ from vultures, their bells
of beaks crying, dark specks of iron-
colored ash. I want to know why
I don’t see birds as deathmongers,
only as angels who sometimes seem human,
or why on these gray rainy days the plain
sky is like a sty, and the futile land festers
from bluefish kill, like my projects
that strove heavenward and fell
seaward, where fish and hell
await, like the gulls: part bird, part not.
Linda Benninghoff grew up on Long Island and attended Johns Hopkins University where she majored in English. She has recently published poetry in Aleola, Lodestone, and the Wallace Stevens Journal.