Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

Raptor

by Jack Bedell

“It’s the story that makes us understand.”—Mark Jarman

 

At the end of fall, the hawk sits on his wire

overlooking the air field. He’s been there

every season since the storm chased

vermin out of the shadows and into town.

 

I pass him on his post going to work

each day. Most times, he’s still, suspicious

of cars passing by. There have been days,

though, I’ve seen him hunt, fall with such speed

I’ve lost my place on the road watching him

 

dive. Just before winter, the robins are fat

and he picks them out of the air in a single burst

of force and feathers, sometimes taking two

out in one strike. His hunts surgical.

 

My whole life, I’ve heard old people tell stories

about birds being spirits of the world.

I’ve come to know the blue heron for the calm

she brings to the marsh, the dogris for the penance he serves.

This hawk bears nothing with him on his wire but chill.