“There is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits.”
— Milton Friedman
Today when I came home, all the garbage
in the neighborhood was smeared across
the street and lawns. Buzzards, my husband said.
The bones from our barbecue ribs
looked like they’d been steam-cleaned.
Even the cat litter had been picked through,
nothing left but clumps of dust. This week
Whole Foods announced it’s cutting benefits
for 1,900 part-time workers to better meet
the needs of our business. Turkey buzzards
on the side of the road look like men in dark suits
hunched over the latest financial statements
in a board room. When I pass them on my
morning walks, they don’t even startle.
Whole Foods was recently bought by Jeff Bezos,
owner of Amazon. I read that this cut will save
the company the amount Bezos earns
in six hours. I frequently mistake soaring
buzzards for eagles. Scavenger or sacred symbol—
why scorn one and not the other? Who belongs
behind bars? Who should grace the Forbes cover?
A birder friend told me the flight feathers
of a buzzard are lighter underneath than its body
and wingbone. Look for the sign of the cross,
she explained. Let the market decide, economists
always say. In the end, it doesn’t matter.
A bird of prey is a bird of prey.
Erin Murphy’s eighth book of poems is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as The Georgia Review, North American Review, Brevity, Southern Humanities Review, and Women’s Studies Quarterly. She is Professor of English at Penn State Altoona.
Photo from the Wikimedia Commons.