I had been sitting in the shade after irrigating and picking corn from the milpa talking with Leroy, shucking corn just before lunch, while he did his homework. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the first vulture light atop one of the Hogar’s ruined walls. It sat there hunched over like vultures do. Leroy commented on the birds when the second vulture flew in to sit close by the first. Zopilotes, I said. He laughed. I wonder what they’re doing here? The scavengers are ubiquitous, dozens float in the wind currents high above the city daily. A half-dozen toddlers played around my feet making a nuisance of themselves asking for corn shucks in their childish garbles. Suddenly I heard a cry: The chicken! screamed the nun. I saw her dash from the kitchen, yelling. I looked and saw that one of the vultures had swooped down to where Sister Edith had set a large pan with a frozen chicken to defrost in the sun a short distance away. The startled vulture had just started to peck at the chicken carcass and quickly jumped into the sky to settle back on the ruined wall. The nun walked back clutching lunch tightly to her chest and the toddlers, as one, ran towards the two vultures waving their tiny arms, shouting in cherub anger to keep the birds at bay.
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