Regarding the Hawk
The hawk plunges
into the crowd at the bird feeder,
grabs a mourning dove
in a wild flurry of feather and blood.
It had been waiting for just this moment:
the convergence of
my generosity with seed,
the hunger of the small birds,
the even greater hunger of the raptor.
I watch the hawk lift off,
the flapping gray bird in its talons,
shifting to another gear for uplift,
then settling on a wind draft
to calm its racing blood,
before alighting on the top
of a telephone pole,
to devour its catch
in full view of the neighborhood.
How can this sight not stay with me,
aiding and abetting death as I do.
The hawk will return to its aerie in the high oaks,
sparrows, finches, retreat to their nests in the thick brush.
mourning doves batten down in their loose bed
of leaves and twigs in forks of maples.
And I will fill the empty feeders, pick up the feathers,
hose away the stains.
That’s as close to nature as I get.
The crow sits on a throne of green
on the highest oak tree branch,
its heft, dark feathers,
lauding it over the surrounding landscape.
Not even we intruders,
superior as we think we are,
can match the black-robed beast
It offers a desultory caw
to announce our presence,
It has no fear of hikers
but sinks into its black satin robes,
beak on chest,
talons gripping limb.
But there's that whole issue of carrion
to be dealt with.
It can't eat until something dies.
We're so alive
we're more annoyance than anything.
And, unlike the raccoon, the skunk,
when we die
our fellows do something about it.
They don't leave us
to the pecking order of the crows.
The crow looks out across its empire.
And then down at humankind below.
The worst of us are on the trails.
The best of us are six feet under.
John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in The Lyric, Vallum and the science fiction anthology, “The Kennedy Curse” with work upcoming in Bryant Literary Magazine, Natural Bridge, Southern California Review and the Oyez Review.