Two Hawks (v.2.2)

A pair of sharp-shinned hawks
Found our farm. Never
Far from one another,
Perched in the outstretched arms

Of hackberries—trees, in their way,
Probably not much
Older than the birds. I made
Rounds on the tractor, mowing winter

Blackberries, burgundy
Canes guarding thick blankets
Of dead grass—mouse’s houses—
Summer pasture passed over,

Too prickly for the delicate lips of
Cattle. They watched me, these
Two, leaning with suspicion,
Approximating my proximity,

And I recalled when, as a boy,
I raised a sheet of sun-warmed
Tin—a collapsed shed roof—
To discover two black snakes

Tranquilly coiled and watchful,
Dark shadows in the dust,
Flickering forked tongues
To taste my intent. Delighted,

I sprinted to inform the farm
Hands, only to return the next day
To find the metal thrown aside,
And both snakes decapitated.

No hydras here, their
Bodies stiff with rigor mortise,
The tracks of boot heels
Puncturing the dust, black

Blood everywhere. Bitter
Betrayal! A boy, I buried
Them in the stony, splashing
Sepulcher of my heart, left

Decades for the hawks
To find, falling earthward
To soar, winging skyward
In an effortless, unwavering arc.

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