Learning to Read

In our walled yard, a hawk
stood--grave as an angel--
on a snowy hump of feathers.
She turned her face and
fixed me with her perfectly
round and clear right eye.

At last she simply opened
her wings and rose, carrying
her lunch with her over the avenue.

It is all a matter of moment.
Fewer red lights and I might have seen
feathers flash against the sun:
the stoop, the strike, 
the waves of air opening,
a whirlpool towards landfall.

Or, pursuing my usual routine, I'd have come
home late to a scattering of feathers, perhaps
one lump of bone glistening 
in its pale pink sheath.
I'd have imagined immediately the neighbor's cat,
long black body pressed flat against the earth, 
        --slowly, slowly it must have crept
               through the screen of bushes
                     towards the fat and 
                         nearly flightless pigeon.

           One paw, then
                            (after forever)
           the next--
                            silently in the grass.

        Muscles gather for the great uncoiling...


        Hooked together, fur and feathers 
        tumbling across the lawn and finally 

        Later, sated, the cat tugs 
        the corpse away, under 
        the blackberry brambles.

Tracing the marks, I'd have read
a plausible, earthbound tale:

being completely confident,
being completely wrong.


2 thoughts on “Learning to Read

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