Red Birds – Central Park
It was me who suggested going to the park or the museumbut you who decided on the park,
in the cold that just dropped over this city like a blanket.
The wind tells us that he is here to stay. Get used to it.
But in the park, we are safeand we walk down steps and hills
and around slowly freezing water
till the buildings that define this city
against the bare-boned white of stark fingered trees.
We spot the cardinal first.Then another.
Everything is muted brown
and black and white and grey
except for this fluttering creature
in her great glorious red.
And above her is the stillness of anothera mass of feathers, a wide body.
We stare and wonder aloud.
I ask the old woman next to meand she says, in nearly a hush
that it’s a red tailed hawk.
She offers her binoculars,
her partner nearby leans heavy on his cane.
I spy on the hawkand it turns its head toward me
its beak crooked.
The hawk sits and waits.
Not for me, or for you, but for something we’ve forgotten.
I wonder if this hawk is the famous one
who nests in buildings and I want to ask but
the woman tells me there are a lot of them in the parkand I pass her back her binoculars
We leavethe leaves under my feet crunch in their death
and I remember being a girl
and the woods where I followed the hawks
their wings spread,
the way they just hovered above me
like a streak of brown paint on a blue canvass
before swooping off with a beat
I could hear in my blood.
out past the rocks
where the mountains split past the water
but that was long ago when I was young.
When the night was still filled with starsand not just streetlights.
Ally Malinenko has been writing stories and poems and novels for awhile now. Possibly too long. Occasionally she gets them published. Her second book of poems entitled Crashing to Earth is forthcoming from Tainted Coffee Press and her first novel for children, Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb, was recently published by Antenna Books. She can be found blathering here: http://allymalinenko.com/