Falconer

— D. A. Powell

I’m flying through a corridor of trees,
led by a Dalmatian on a leash.
We’re hauling down the walkway
lined with sycamores and gum.
The grackles crash along beside.

From each high station the crows start.
A red-tailed hawk is passing through.
He’s only looking for a squirrel.
But his shape frightens the crows
who cannot help but rise up in defense.

Defense of sorrowful eggs.
Defense of the tender young.
As if you’d want to eat a crow.
No one ever does, least of all the hawk.
But try to tell that story to the crows.

That’s enough for now.
We’ve done our outdoor business, says the dog.
But we’ll be back again so very soon.
Shall we be extravagant and say at noon?
If only the call of the wild could wait that long.

Once I thought I’d be a falconer.
I’d start out with falcon lessons.
Eventually, I’d purchase my own bird.
Bird, I’d tell him, take care of that squirrel
digging among my poppies, lopping the buds.
And the raptor would carry out my order.

“My Mother Would Be a Falconress,”
I’d recite daily, along with “Second Coming.”
I’d teach this bird the history of falcons,
their human history.
And he would rule among the crows.

As for indoor business, the light has burned out.
Rather than change the bulb, I’m using candles.
St. Martín de Porres and St. Lazarus of Jerusalem.
Martín could communicate with all animals.
Lazarus, for some reason, blesses pets.
Not that a falcon is a pet.
Oh, it returns all right but it is wild.
The wild beast does not give comfort
in the easy ways. It tears out hearts.


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