The Hawk

Marianne Boruch Click to

boruchRecipient of Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships, Marianne Boruch is on the faculty of Purdue University but has been visiting professor at several other institutions. She has written essay collections and a memoir, as well as nine collections of poetry, among them Moss Burning, Grace, Fallen from; and most recently Cadaver, speak from Copper Canyon Press.  “The Hawk” originally appeared in Shenandoah 46/4.

He was halfway through the grackle
when I got home. From the kitchen I saw
blood, the black feathers scattered
on snow. How the bird bent
to each skein of flesh, his muscles
tacking to the strain and tear.
The fierceness of it, the nonchalance,
Silence took the yard, so usually
restless with every call or quarrel,
titmouse, chickadee, drab
and gorgeous finch, and the sparrow haunted
by her small complete surrender
to a fear of anything. I didn’t know
how to look at it. How to stand
or take a breath in the hawk’s bite
and pull, his pleasure
so efficient, so of course, of course,
the throat triumphant,
rising up. Not
the violence, poor grackle. But the
sparrow, high above us,
who knew exactly.