By Claudia Geagan

September 21, 2015


Alone, I stare down the wide notch behind my house where the mountain to the east rolls inward to the west, and the western mountain rolls inward to the east till at last the two converge. A thousand feet below, a ground fog grays the Piedmont, but the sun has risen quite high and the thermals bend the spring-green hardwoods. These are worn mountains, the last mounds of the Southern Appalachians.

I stand in my house of stone and stucco and indecent expanses of glass and wonder what battles I must wage to win the war against time, counting my countless faults. I ask the winds how to sleep, how to breathe.

At first he appears at the base of the V, an ink-squiggle of hawk, but as he rises he rounds and exposes the dark underside of his wings. He floats, allowing the wind to do the work. On one current he lists to port, flexes his starboard wrist and stretches his feather-fingers against the sky. Upward he soars, flashes his bronze shoulders, his massive span, his secret rust-red markings, his yellow-rimmed beak – a warrior in his feathers and paint. He casts his brown eye toward my blue ones, and says, "Look how easy that was. Don't fight so hard."

I keep saying "he." He, him, she, her, you, me, us?

You, I think. You.


Photo "Red-tailed hawk (Young)" provided by Steve Thompson, via Flickr.com creative commons license.

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