One Hawk, Two Ways

At first it was a silhouette I saw
blacken the asphalt when it slipped
above our quiet street, all its claws
raked across the timid morning’s lips.

The sky parted for his swift descent
hushed as arrows—just a shudder rose
of damp air displaced for death’s advance,
the morning peace a carcass now exposed.

With surgical precision he sliced into
the cavity between rocks and hawthorn
across the street, and left holding onto
lizard flesh, like from an organ donor.

Though—maybe before—I actually saw him
passing by my face, his ruffled legs in
an Elizabethan shirt, and the tips
of his tarsi feathers curled by the wind.

And then a young girl who found a feather
turned it over twice and stroked the velvet,
pulled the up-curved edges with her fingers
and no words for the lightness that she felt.

The truth is my memory is blurred—
I may have blinked or tried to look ahead.
I’m guessing at what may have occurred
in the street, and with the lizard dead.












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