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.