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Lost in the woods with an air rifle,
a boy supposed to be after birds,
amazed by vines and wintering trees,
resigned, I fired my chambered pellet

into limbs to ricochet in air
and a red-tail lifted off its perch,
rose in dreamlike silence, muscled breast
angling up, flexing, as my neck craned

to track it straight overhead. Its sharp
hooked beak, assassin's eye; laboring
with clear purpose to work the bellows
it carved a groove into the ceiling.

The grown-ups found me late that evening
asleep in a junked hay truck, the gun
months later, near where I saw the hawk,
rust-lichened, aslant against an oak.

Nick Norwood

Gravel and Hawk
Ohio University Press

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