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.
Gravel and Hawk
Ohio University Press
Copyright © 2012 by Nick Norwood
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission