Push the crossbow
through the carcass and remove.
It won’t trill or whistle,
this chattering beak is stilled.
Put a knife into the once soft
nodding neck, slice to tail
a two-hued feather-fan, pull skin off
body to mid-leg.
No, there’ll be no dance
of three-clawed feet.
Pluck out dark intestines,
pack breast meat in salt,
rinse free of fishy stench, then boil.
Stringier flesh is culled
from birds as old as fifty.
You saw her preen and bob
a dowager in plumes
across the deck. Ingested seagull
renders diverse maladies.
Imbued with parasites
you may note in a pyretic trance
souls rise from the sea fret, then seize
the corpses of your gull-sick crew
to guide the ship.
Cursed now, you will harp on about this fate.