We are in Tibet. A man is dead;
his friends have taken him
to the place of the vultures.
The large birds wait, ardent spectators
with scrawny naked necks, blood-red heads
and powerful beaks,
while the dead man is dismembered,
chopped in pieces,
by the ones who love him.
I am appalled.
I have only seen dead bodies
distant from their real selves.
I have seen coffins, sealed shut,
wheeled silently behind curtains
to be disposed of out of sight,
as if to shield us
from the truth.
Now in Tibet
with other movie-goers, I am surprised
by a growing sense of rightness
as I watch ungainly vultures lumber
forward to their sacramental meal
and the kindness of their beaks
tearing at flesh.