A Clearing

This morning I watch a red-tailed hawk float
along high wires, hunting in the clearing below.
Diving against a backdrop of desert, a mob of
ravens skip across him like stones in a pond.

The day of my father’s funeral, a red-tailed hawk
sat on the utility pole across from the cemetery
in the middle of town. Sitting in the southern
rain as grief devoured the sun, we imagined

it was him, once a great hunter, until
he became the hunted. How fiercely and
quickly cancer came and conquered, a faceless
coward, no glance, no signal, no war-horns.

Now I sit at each sunrise as the hawk
fights off his inescapable foes, talons flung
high, sounding his warning, I watch him
win over and over again.