Here, where I am buffeted,
barely able to stand,
a kestrel hangs
impossibly still in the wind.
I envy its otherness,
its look of being somewhere else—
far from where I’ve scrabbled
up the slope, unloosening scree
as I climbed, lacking altogether
the grace of this hawk
becalmed in mid air. Becalmed
despite gusts strong enough
to rend a sail in the firth,
that blue hem
at the end of these hills.
I want down.
Without tripping over moles
tunneling their runways
under my feet. Sheep, stones, shrew
half-hidden in the upland grasses—
all of us tilting toward sea level,
exposed as the skylark
and golden plover that veer
in the airspace between Scald Law
and the kestrel’s barely quivering wings.
It’s a recurring dream
I have of hovering, the calm
I call kestrel in this storm.
Waking I know even the bird’s lift
is short-lived. The hair’s-breadth
between heather and heath,
those seconds before it plunges
headlong into a vole.