Falconry

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A screeching hawk climbs overhead,
Gliding, swooping in pursuit,
Her flight a perfect merger
Of beauty, purpose, and skill.

If only, if only
I could capture such a hawk
Train and bend
That beauty and skill
To do the bidding of my will.

Sent forth from my hand
In a powerful surge of wings,
Pummeling air,
Finding the perfect draught of air
To glide upon,
Turning, searching for prey,
Then sighting her trophy, her prize,
Sweeping down, a beat of wings,
A shift of body,
Talons extended,
What seems a pause,
A slowing,
Talons snatching,
Squeezing, sinking into a snake’s skin,
Wings beat, once, twice,
A cry as she lifts her body
And her limp prize,
Upon the air to glide,
Turning homeward,
The purity of her purpose,
A dance upon the air,
Done.

If only, if only
From my hand could fly
Such beautiful purity of purpose.

Our Children

Innocence, a fairytale idea,
Sacrificed along with safety
Burned as sweet, bloody incense
On an altar to the Second
Unrestrained, unrestricted
The true worship contained
In this strange amalgam of green and gold,
Gunpowder, lead, and power
Causing some confusion
In steel tongues touting
The sanctity of life
And rights to any guns
in prayers.

Our children born in a skin of fear
Do what we have not
Stand up
And say no more.

The Rabbit

A rabbit stilled,

Motionless, as if frozen

In the summer grass

 

Only her nose twitches, flares

The scent of wrongness,

Just a touch upon the air

 

And she knew

Only flight carried safety

Flight, the right choice to make

 

But she could stand only statue still

And standing so, the trap sprung

Steel teeth clamping down,

Slicing through skin,

Chewing through chunks of muscle

As she struggled,

Daring not to scream

As screams would bring the predators

This she knew too well.

 

The trap now biting into bone,

Her struggles stopped.

Her panting calmed.

Her head rested upon the grass.

One eye looked to a cloudless sky.

She prayed for strength to chew

Through bone.

Definitions of Us

Mother, widow,
Writer, teacher, friend
Titles I wear
That others use
To make a definition
Of me.

But I am more
Than any definition
Clown and comedienne
Actress and writer
Sinner and saint
A bit of Medea and Medusa
Shaken and stirred
With a touch
Of Mother Theresa
And Margaret Mead
And an added dash
Of Lucille Ball
For good measure.

My Lady MacBeth stays
Securely Locked Away,
Crying for some Germ-X
For her hands.
Wuornos, her cellmate,
Just doesn’t give a shit
And is it any wonder?

But I’ve no soft purr
With words
Like a Bishop or a Plath
Or a Browning,
But I could bake brownies
That might make you cry.

Yes, full of contradictions and complications
That’s what we women are
A bit of the Madonna
A bit of the Whore
A bit of the Wise One
And more
Too much and too little
To list
And define
Except by what we,
Ourselves, design

 

Ten in Ten

Ten hurricanes in ten weeks,
Or so says CNN,
North Korea and Iran
Could be shaking hands
If it comes to WWIII
California is burning
Vegas is still hurting
Puerto Rico has little
In the way of food and water
While Trump signs yet
Another executive order
Could nearly turn an atheist
Into a person of faith
But you know what they say,
Everyone prays in the end.

SPIN

 

 

Spin the world back
Align the planets
In time and place
Before terms of “modern history”
Before debates of definitions
And the numbers swelled
To defy all meanings
Coalesced of horror and terror
When men hadn’t lost reason
Or eaten seductive fruits
Of celebrity and hate.

Spin the numbers down
Beyond all the eights
Of Miami, Louisville
San Francisco, Omaha,
Carthage, Appomattox,
Manchester, Seal Beach

Spin back the nines
In Jacksonville and Waddell,
Red Lake High School,
Charleston and Roseburg

Spin down the ten
Of Alabama
That added yet more

Spin down the even dozens
In Aurora, Atlanta,
And the Navy Yard

Spin down the thirteens
Of Camden, Wilkes-Barre,
Binghamton, Seattle,
Fort Hood,
And Columbine High

Spin down the fourteens
At San Bernardino
And the Edmond Post Office

Spin down the eighteen
Of the University of Texas

Spin down the twenty-one
In San Ysidro

Spin down the twenty-three
At Killeen

Spin down the twenty-seven
Of Sandy Hook

Spin down the thirty-two
At Virginia Tech

Spin down the forty-nine
In Orlando

Spin down the fifty-eight
Of Vegas

Spin down
To a time of innocence
Before blood
Of four hundred eighty-nine martyrs
Soaked the second
Before tears watered
Graves of the framers
Spin, spin us back

Or

Spin, spin us forward
To a new time
When no hate fed madman
Can attempt alchemy
With gunpowder, iron, and blood.