In the Backyard
This morning a hawk plunges straight for the squirrel at my feeder and leaves only its signature: blood on the snow. All morning it circled the yard, then dove, stunning itself on the glass sky of my window, and in minutes returned, braving the thin, perilous channel between hedgerow and house. I was watching its path as it fell, its persistence, and the squirrel, how it dashed for the downspout, finding itself motionless under the heat of the hawk’s body, the claws in its rib cage, the sudden tearing of wind as it rose over the fence, the feeder, the tops of maples and houses. All morning it stays with me, not the squirrel’s terror, the hawk’s accuracy, but only how it must feel to be lifted out of your life, astonished at the yard growing smaller, the earth with its snow-covered fields tilting, and what must be your shadow flying across it, farther and farther below.
Copyright © 1997 Patricia Hooper. Originally published in At the Corner of the Eye (Michigan State University Press, 1997) by Patricia Hooper. Used with permission of the author.
Patricia Hooper is the author of four poetry collections, including Separate Flights (University of Tampa Press, 2016) and Other Lives (Elizabeth Street Press, 1984).
Date Published: 2017-09-12
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/backyard