This morning I froze upon seeing
a red-shouldered hawk on our fence,
with all the dignity that power can bring.
Then he unfolded his wide wings
and lifted off, revealing the design
of his black and white tail.
How did the beauty of hunter hawks,
of the buteos, the accipiters, the eagles
figure in their design and survival?
The buzzards fly lovely arcs and
swoops and spirals, but up close
resemble their carrion work.
Do the kestrels, however, the merlins,
harriers, kites, or the peregrines
have shapes and patterns to dazzle, say,
a field-mouse looking skyward
from a field of sweet peas, pausing briefly,
still watching, a moment too long?