Feet splayed, leather between toes,
black claws meant for pedestrian tasks,
you meet me with your mate in the office parking lot.
Though there’s something regal in your head held high,
I’ve seen you eating grass on suburban lawns,
your hungry bill opening and closing as I approach,
greeting me like you were my pet.
Once I watched you overhead, migrating spring and fall,
symbol of everything wild I loved
as a boy pushed toward an artificial world.
Now the comfort of retention ponds, of parks and city heat,
has erased your need to cross those distances,
the magnet sky of yours still lit with guiding lines and fluxes.
Even those of us who welcome you
notice how you’ve swelled in numbers,
how you stop the traffic
as you trundle across these busy streets
as though they belong to you.
Many others loathe what you’ve become,
look at you as some king size pigeon,
another pest dug in to stay and complicate our crude ballet.
How you watch me so directly with those black pearl eyes
when I reach to touch you, to rub your head
with a loving finger – you snap your beak,
your pink tongue wagging,
and remind me that your distant kin
were brontosaurus and T-rex,
warning me away with your baby dragon’s hiss.
Boat Hull, Moving Party in a Small Town
It lifts off supports that have held it
since the dream lit on paper,
charming time from father and son,
now years and their secret kept hidden
from the town until the invitation,
word of mouth and flyers stuck
in all the right places.
It is heavy but not the way we thought,
keel slicing dim air inside the barn as it moves,
door sliding open to the bright afternoon
and the volleyball net, the silver kegs,
the loaded picnic tables and barbeque grills,
a party until now. We are ancient again,
linked by this burden, our strength together
enough to flip the boat onto the trailer,
no deck or cabin yet, no masts, no wheel
or rudder to steer into the purest stretch of sea;
we have only that horizon we imagine,
our mistakes and regrets dwindling fast behind us,
every future ideal as we all step back and applaud.
“They’re out to protect their family and their neighborhood and they don’t do anything alone or quietly. They’re more like people than any other animal on earth” – Dr. Kevin McGowan
I am watched, running trails
through disturbed territory.
They do not know my name
but my shape and intent
have been transferred
through the treetops
by their harsh vocabulary,
passing me on
from station to station,
wary and wise
from hawks and owls
and armed men who think
in terms of thieves.
Back at the lot,
mine is the only car,
but I see them already gather
on the low branches
wishing me gone.
I open the trunk
and from the grocery sack
pay toll for my passage
with bread and berries.