Cooper’s Hawk by Nancy Parrish

I call him Fenimore
To remember his species.

Each morning
I walk to the mailbox
And look to see him,
Cased against the cold
In his feather cocoon of wings and trapped air.
He seems less a hawk than
An owl with towel-dried hair spiking out in odd directions,
Dawn’s white light painting him on his perch
Atop the pear tree.

He is not looking for me, I know,

But for breakfast in the fields.

I have seen him drop—a lightning bolt—
Snatch a field mouse,
And sail off to a pine,
Without a thought at my passing by.

Yet this morning and last,
Without cause,
He tipped from his branch at my approach,
Unfurled himself
And glided silently to the woods.

Our broken understanding stings,
For I have never posed a threat
Nor broken pattern, my walk habitual.

Yet I see that embedded in my paths are expectation’s seeds,
The black earth
Yielding a flowering that would be love.

For not one of us wants to walk on

Nancy Parrish
Nancy Parrish’s poetry has placed in the Poetry Society of Virginia competitions and has been published in Virginia Writing. Her first nonfiction book is Lee Smith, Annie Dillard, and the Hollins Group, and she currently blogs at as she finishes a book on the Downton Era: The Flight of the English Gods: Great Houses, Churchills, and Mitfords.

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