November PAD 4

The Hawk and the Hare

—For J.K.

When the world you know has shut down for the day,
turned off its halogen lights and said its see-you-laters,
you leave the office shredded, only to be startled by
a red-tailed hawk a few feet away,
light brown feathers streaked in white.
He stands there, magnificent, suspicious,
wings tucked in, but does not let go
of what’s between his talons:
a chipmunk/no a squirrel/no a hare—
that same small creature you saw at lunchtime
with its soft, floppy ears scampering along
the building wall, obscured by the big-headed hydrangeas.
He must have plotted this destruction all day,
and will not be denied by you or your presence.
It buries its beak into the body ripping brown fur
and skin in large bloody chunks. No sound
but the sound of struggle while your heart pounds
the inside of your body. You think, for a moment,
you should do something/call someone/stop this,
but you don’t. You keep this carnage all to yourself,
the hawk now grasping at it tightly but inching away from you.
You’re not even sure if the hare is still alive
but for the twitching of its foot, rhythmic as a drum
until it ceases, its last act of resistance on this earth.
Before you know it, the hawk takes off
clasping what’s left of its meal, giving a shrill cry
as it soars above the pines and disappears.
For days, tufts of hair and bone dot the grass
untouched like a makeshift memorial,
while the story of the hawk and the hare
becomes part of office lore. And you,
the whole time thinking about this savage life,
how it pulls you apart each day and goes on
without apology/or warning/or end.


LJCohen said…
Oh, January, wow. This one hit me like a ton of bricks. Just wow.
Cameron said…
very nice.
Jim K. said…
Oh wicked world.
Very nice indeed.

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