Marauders on the Gulf of Mexico

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The assassins in black,
Are clumsy sad sacks
Resting, nesting or just bored
At the edge of Gulf Shores;
But in action their maneuvers
Emulate Air Force crews
At Pensacola nearby,
Guiding warplanes in the sky
Into forms of graceful ballet
As they sally
From the their roosts to revel
In flights at sea level.

Contrary wise,
A difference lies
In the lazier cruise
Of pelicans as they pursue
Ignorant submersibles,
Fatally nonsensical,
Which ignore death's cold stare
And marine warfare.

They mistakenly rise
To the surface and a surprise
In the blink of an eye
To abruptly die:
Sushi dining prizes
In single shape and various sizes.

Exploring sea patches
Seeking fins and fresh caches,
The dark warriors patiently hover
With no special cover;
Wings stretched static and wide,
Relaxed in an easy, breezy ride,
Cradled in warm air currents
That boost their endurance.

The sudden assault culminates:
Impelled by some innate
Instinct: wings tighten
Against feathery fuselages
To empower rapid barrages,
Teaming with gravity;
To satisfy an internal cavity.
They make their run:
Swift missiles that stun
The quarry with a smash
To grab and stow their catch;
After momentarily waiting,
Perhaps masticating,
The unsatisfied birds lumber
Up and away to satisfy hunger
With renewed launches
To fill yawning paunches.

As they regroup and dissemble
In silent circuits, pelicans resemble
Certain prehistoric raptors,
Prowling for high-protein meals;
But with built-in creels;
Physically effective despite oddities
Like blunt bodies
For birds; over-sized bills
To seize the kills
And pouches which droop
For storing scoops,
Plus bomb-sight vision
For targeting precision.

Slumber time comes,
With the work day done,
Off Perdido Key;
Nappers huddle eerily
After sunset in dim light,
A slightly disturbing sight
Atop pier pilings
In single filings:
Headless horsemen still
And quiet with bills
And heads tucked under
Wings for slumber,
Flipping them out for a peep
Then back to sleep
After a hard fishing day
At the gulf and the bay.