Birds of Prey

— Rowan Quince Buckton

They hung old metal speakers
in the blueberry fields. Birds of prey
called through, part tin, part cry.
Each caw startled, an ugly
sort of longing on repeat: my friend
scooping her newborn
closer to her chest, as if a wild
fowl might dive down, clench the baby’s
ruddy cheek in its beak and break off
skyward. I didn’t know any better.
With each metallic sound I waited
for a grander show, wanted
a flock of birds to appear and collect me.
Maybe the sky was stitched firm
enough to hold a chorus of want.
I’d give my throat to feather
and song if it would give me something
to do with this ache. Returning home,
the air fell empty. What do raptors
sound like against the hum of night?
Do their cackles prattle mothers awake
in the morning? Where does this longing
rest at night?

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