The Answer to Your Question is, “Wired Like the Taxidermy Wing

 
Of a hawk in mimic of cleaving,
I drove toward Jackson to grab lunch and coffee
with friends at a municipal airport’s restaurant lounge.
Passed a red tail in the center ditch flailing,
body transverse, great wing-breadth
flexing, unfurling, and falling like a fan
in the slow August heat. I imagined
the writhing hawk as much as I could
all the way down that white shoulder
line. I had said something hurtful
to my wife that morning and I have
long suspected those sharp-witted birds
could teach us of pain, each demonstration
perverse plucking the passerine midflight
and feasting. I lunched with David
and Amanda and watched the runway
which was mostly dead that Monday afternoon,
but we did speak of the precariousness of the lone
helicopter as it lifted and nosed forward,
tail tipping 45 degrees. They must be
treacherous. I have this sense that they
frequently crash, and this has been said
of marriages in prose both pseudo-psychological
and grandiloquent, yet crows have been found
holding funerals at roadsides and certain
raptors mate for life. It is easy to label
animal grief, while its expression lames us—
mannequin impressions of how the great
birds look in flight; from that airport lounge
there was nothing on the tarmac to compare
it to. Helicopter heading north to an estate,
propeller slicing a blurred halo out of air.”

 

 

 

Cal FreemanCal Freeman is the author of the book Brother of Leaving (Marick Press) and the chapbook Heard Among the Windbreak (Eyewear Publishing, London). His writing has appeared in many journals including Passages North, New Orleans Review, The Cortland Review, Southword, and The Manchester Review. He has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and creative nonfiction. He has also been nominated for Best of the Net and Best American Poetry. His book, Fight Songs, is forthcoming from Eyewear Publishing in October 2017.  He currently lives in Dearborn, Michigan, and teaches at Oakland University.
 
Read two poems by Cal Freeman appearing in Terrain.org.

Header photo of red-tailed hawk by Jacob W. Frank, courtesy National Park Service.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons