Yesterday we hiked across some wetlands,
up a hill into a pine forest,
then down through a steep canyon’s riparian canopy,
and up again on a trail fully exposed to summer sun
across grasslands to the top of a mesa,
where we sat on a bench and ate cheese and apples
we’d pulled out of our daypacks,
while overlooking the farms in the canyon below us,
the golden hills across the way,
the Pacific, half-shrouded with mist, in the distance.
We’d earlier seen buzzards soaring,
but now they got closer, circling,
one even swooping to ten feet above our heads,
peering down on us
with cocked red head, curious eyes.
In defense we joked in our
heartiest graveyard humor
about how bad us old guys must’ve looked
to lure these carrion seekers,
this clean-up crew,
that will get us yet.