River – songs from the poetry of Allison Grayhurst
He turns his hawk head
to view the shells of turtles streaking
the still-shroud of water in tanks
as blue as sky.
He lifts a leg and talons tensed,
pivots to defend against an enclosing shadow.
With whitish eyes and an impossible urge
to fly, he hops along his man-made perch toward
the cages where squirrels leap
from metal to wood, scattering like leaves
in unpredictable flurry.
He listens to the ducks’ lipless sounds.
Spring, he will never experience again, nor know
the scent of a pent-up life released like
sunflowers blooming, or the feel of the moon,
colder but more comforting than being touched.
He is without time or tribe,
and like fire, he haunts
by just being.
Copyright © 1998 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “UC Review”, 1996/1997