Bruce Bennett


A Vulture Is a Vulture Isn’t a Vulture

“In North America, a vulture is a vulture, a buzzard is
a vulture
, and a hawk is a hawk. In the rest of the world,
a vulture is a vulture, a buzzard is a hawk, and a hawk is
sometimes a buzzard, though there are still other birds
with the name hawk that would not be called buzzards.”

The Spruce

A buzzard is a vulture
except when it’s a hawk,
except some hawks aren’t buzzards?
You’re going to have to talk

Me through this. Is a vulture
a hawk, or is it not?
Which country am I in now?
Which bird book have I got?

So, is that hawk a buzzard?
I don’t know what to say!
Or maybe it’s a vulture?
I’m in the USA,

I thought, but now I wonder.
And what is this I see?
Good God! It’s circling closer.
It’s coming after me!

Pandemic Puppies

Pandemic puppies hate the way
their families leave them every day.
They moan and hang around the door.
They’ve been abandoned now for sure!

Nobody loves them. They’re alone.
No one will feed or give a bone
or pet an orphan. Who will care
again? No one! There’s no one there

To reassure them. Cock your head,
poor girl (or boy). But then, instead
of joyful greetings, no one comes.
The sad refrigerator hums,

The clock tick, ticks… But wait! What‘s that?
A sound. But it was just the cat.
She’s prowling. Doesn’t care a whit
who’s home or not. You lie (or sit)

Just waiting, till, at last, at last!
your nightmare ends. The time has past.
You’re hugged and snuggled, pummeled, kissed!
You know for sure you have been missed

And won’t forget, until… until…
it happens once again. You will
be desolate, and know once more
you’ve been abandoned now for sure!

Death of a Bookseller

“Ed laughed and said Bob’s final day was just as he’d want it
to be—he arrived at the book shop early, was sitting at his
computer entering books into his data base, and all of a
sudden Ed heard a “clunk.” Ed looked around the corner
at Bob’s desk, and found that Bob had died instantly.
The clunk was his head hitting the keyboard.”
—email from a friend

It was the way he’d choose to go,
reported Bob’s friend Ed.
He did not suffer, did not know,
and all at once was dead.

May it be so for all us folk
who worry that our friends
may wail, not tell it as a joke
the way we meet our ends.

Yes, let us pass, not sad, in pain,
not solemn, like a monk.
May others laugh as they explain
how we died with a clunk.

Yes, let them break into a smile,
then gasp to catch their breath,
narrating—may it take a while—
the humor of our death.


Bruce Bennett is the author of numerous collections of poetry and poetry chapbooks. His most recent book is Just Another Day in Just Our Town: Poems New And Selected, 2000-2016 (Orchises Press, 2017). He is Emeritus Professor of English at Wells College and lives in Aurora, New York. His poetry website is