A childhood spent cornering chickens,

escaped from the safety of their pen,

against brush and the barn’s corners,

letting them discover entrapment

before I grabbed their tails, pulled them

towards me, folded wings under an arm;

they always panicked until I put my hands

over their eyes, soothed them with darkness.


Once, as the chickens scratched in the dirt,

a hawk swooped over the nearby hill—

his arched wings glistened gold-brown,

his legs stretched, his claws reached out,

in one long glissade he lifted a fat hen,

glided upwards, was gone. I watched,

so caught by that dancer, his intent—

the slow waltz of pursuer and pursued.



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