At first it was a silhouette that I saw
blacken the asphalt when a hawk slid
over our quiet street.
Then the sky parted for his descent,
hushed as an arrow, and only a shudder of
hot air displaced to warn of death’s advance.
The neighborhood peace was a carcass exposed.
With surgical precision he sliced into
the cavity between boulder and hawthorn
on the street corner, and left gripping
a lizard, precious as a donor organ.
But even before, I may have seen the hawk
glide past my face, his slender legs ruffled
in an Elizabethan shirt and the tips of his
tarsi feathers blown into tender curls as he
flew into the wind.
And soon a young girl found a feather
by the boulder. She turned it over twice,
then pulled the up-curved edge of blood
brown filaments between her thumb and
two fingers to stroke the velvet. With
no possible words for the lightness she felt.
The truth is, my memory is blurred.
I may have blinked, may have tried to look away.
I can only report what I think I saw, stunned
by the ambush, and with the lizard dead.