The sign reads 20 MPH. The hawk: 0 MPH.
He, a mute sentinel of white and tawny feathers, perches
atop its narrow, blade-thin edge to watch
cars pass in the rain: swivel, stare, and then
swivel again in perfect two hundred seventy degree
Swivel again: his serene white face and curved beak
face our direction as we drive past the sign
on our way to lunch. Binocular eyes,
gray and glassy marbles with black at their centers:
they fixate on us, our car, and he watches us drive past
in the rain. We are neither predator, nor prey.
We chuckle at his perch in the rain.
We remember he is the same hawk – buzzard –
that picked off the baby ducklings in the
courtyard between buildings this summer. We call him
stupid for sitting in the October drizzle
biting like tiny bullets into exposed skin, fur,
or feathers. He doesn’t hear us.
The buzzard watches us drive to the where the
path around the campus meets the street
until our last tire connects with the main road. We
think of the ducklings. We think of our hunger.
Inside, the crucifixes hang on the walls just around
the corner from my office: one man, a sacrifice for many.
Twelve ducklings, a sacrifice for one. The hawk eyes
turn once again on a swiveling head to watch
the next car pass by.
© 2011 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.
This poem was written for this week’s WWP Prompt, Instant Poetry, offered by Joseph Harker. He suggested that we write a poem about something that happens in an instant — five seconds, perhaps. This was a challenge for me, as y’all know that I love breadth and depth when I write. However, I was able to focus in on a single moment that happened last week. I hope you enjoyed the poem.