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Red-Tailed Hawk
by Judy Bebelaar

In spring's green ease
a pair of red-tailed hawks
draws slow circles
high above a windy field.
The male begins to plummet
and rise, over and over,
a miracles of arc and reach,
his eyes, cut obsidian, yellow fire.
He touches her, and then the two,
pulling light through wide-spread feathers,
grasp talons and spiral down,
a wild courtship
against brilliant coastal blue.

From the shambles of summer
they weave a nest
from wildness,
wind in grass,
steady beat of sea on rock,
bark and husks and stalks.

Autumn, her chicks soft and wary,
watch from a tall eucalyptus
as the female circles over the field,
hovers, then slips down,
a flash of darkness trailing light.
Her mate, nearby
follows her sweep
to the grass.

First published: Cadillac Cicatrix (2008)  

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