One Hawk, Two Ways

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.






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