Hawk Eyes

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
rotations.

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.

Written 10/25/11
© 2011 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.
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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.

-Nicole
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10 Responses to Hawk Eyes

  1. Wow! What a moment of keen observation and juxtaposition you have placed in this instance. So much pathos in such a short space of lines. This is really good Nicole. I read it several times and found it evocative each time. Good stuff.
    Regards,
    Don

  2. Ruth says:

    Great image of the hawk – great insight into what it is to be hawk (coloured, no doubt, by the remembered ducklings incident). I especially liked the final stanza, the short sentences – We think of the ducklings. We think of our hunger. – that add up to so much more than the words. And the comparison you draw our attention to in what follows immediately after, really struck me.

  3. Yousei Hime says:

    Unfolds into a fascinating scene. I love the shift between the narrator and the hawk, for me a shift of who is predator. Enjoyed this.

  4. mareymercy says:

    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.

    Good stuff!

  5. wayne says:

    well done and thanks for sharing Nicole

  6. nan says:

    This is an outstanding piece. The stillness of a hawk at 0 mph – waiting and watching for that instantaneous moment when… shift. Wow.

  7. You really captured that hawk , I felt sorry for the ducklings!

  8. Irene says:

    You really put keen observation into that eerie swivelling and now I’ll remember your poem when I used the phrase “hawk-eyed”. Well done Nicole.

  9. Excellent piece… I think you tied in all the possible threads that can flash by in such a moment (the level of instant detail, the connection to memory, allusions and personal connections), treating each one with just the right amount of words. And the hawk, as well as we get to know him here, still remains a bit of a mystery.

  10. Nicole, the hawk is a perfect focal point of this poem. Beautifully woven with the past memories and present thoughts.

    Pamela

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