a hawk preens -- a break from unflinching vigilance
I watch the hawk as it sits, watching me It turns away first, knowing I can't reach it nor see it as it sees me
A raptor climbs: it spirals higher and higher,
and what a chunk of world it must now see.
What’s it like to be that vanishing flyer?
Does it feel fear, or does it glide with glee?
It fears like one who knows not what could be.
Like Icarus, it’s naïve of the Fall?
It must know (but not care,) to be that free!
There’s not a chance its flapping wings will stall,
and still less that it will be downed by squalls.
I envy hawks, but could not live their life —
to test air that couldn’t fill my lungs at all
and climb to heights, yet not know any strife.
Oh climb, my Raptor, ride upon thin air,
and when you reach the earth, I’ll meet you there.
I watch the hawks —
watching me watching them —
and wonder how many of them I don’t see.
They’re better watchers:
-less swayed by boredom.
They stand, cloaked, as if in judgement —
Chief Justice of this street,
roving eyes in search of
one false move.
They are literal swoopers.
I’ve been accused of “swooping in,”
but I’m — at best — a figurative swooper.
Watch, swoop, catch, repeat…
The predator commands a post atop a monolithic chimney, which it defends from swooping competitors with a hop, a wing flare, all while going talons up. Its trilling whistle call signals I know not what to I know not whom, but it’s persistent. Its head swivel-snaps around in precise jerks — a clockwork motion. The kite is peering more across the building tops toward the incoming weather than down into the urban valley where it might find a meal. Monsoon season is coming, and it intends to get in some preemptive showers — just to make certain all know that Mother Nature consults no calendars. When a gust hits, the kite beak aligns on the wind direction, but wind shear catches its back feathers, giving it a shabby look.
In the background, I watch its comrades in flight. To say “circling” would be to impose more order than these birds’ chaotic aerial dance warrants. Mostly they glide, each to its own flight plan — occasionally flapping for altitude or making a brief, awkward plummet.