Sharp-Shinned Hawk

October 5, 2012

Two yellow feathers and a skull. . . drop from the sky and fall on the brown . . . scar of trail, a sharp-shinned hawk

All morning we hike the upland meadows,

through devil’s paintbrush, poison sumac,

and the heady smell of wild apples rotting

in the pale fall sun. Palm warblers twitch

their yellow rumps like strung out coke-heads,

and cedar waxwings sing drinking songs

as they eat fermented berries from the high

branches. Two yellow feathers and a skull

drop from the sky and fall on the brown

scar of trail, a sharp-shinned hawk on a dead

branch watching us walk, his brown speckled

belly and slate gray wings reflecting the sun.

He considers us, and without a flap

opens his wings to the wind and is gone.