Friday, May 29, 2009

Two by Kurt Newton


I turned my back
and lost my hawk,
perch empty,
tassled hood upon the floor,
somewhere, still,
the leather tie
attached and dangling
from its taloned foot.

Why it left
I had no clue.
I fed it daily --
waffles, oatmeal
cookies, raisinets.
I read it stories,
played Chopin.
It was born in captivity,
born to soar
across my living room,
nothing more
or so I thought.

The days went slow
from that time on,
my thoughts aloft
and circling.
Until one evening,
driving home from work,
I saw my missing hawk
flying fast in front of me,
just feathers from my windshield.
so close, if I'd been quick,
I could have grabbed
the trailing leather leash.
But twice it beat its wings
and disappeared into the woods.

That night, I dreamed of lost balloons
tangled in a rough and unsympathetic sky.

The next morning
I abandoned work
and went in search
for what was missing in my life.
I drove the only road I knew,
and wouldn't you know
I found my hawk
eating breakfast
in the middle of the hot asphalt,
some unlucky roadkill rodent
too slow for modern wheels.

When I approached,
my hawk did not move to fly away,
his eyes fixed instead
upon my gloved
and outstretched hand.
I whistled once
and like old days
he hopped into the air
and landed with a flop of feathers,
the leather tie
now snarled and snagged
yet still attached
above its bloodied claw.

And as I gazed
upon my hawk,
I saw the reason for its flight.
I could change its diet
from raisinets
to strips of beef.
I could read National Geographic,
play Stravinsky -- the Firebird Suite.
I guess a living room
is not the sky,
a perch
not a tree.

So I reached down
and untied the knot
that bound us both,
and raised my arm
and let the hawk that once was mine,
but never mine,
go free.
It soared across its living room
and spun a circle
way up high.
My stomach fluttered
as if its feathers
beat against my insides.
I watched until my eyes watered,
then drove back home.

That night, I dreamed of a great blue world
with soft white lakes and a warm, golden sun.


If My Father Had Been A Poet

If my father had been a poet,
he would have found a friend in himself,
a reflection that mirrors could not offer.

If my father had been a poet,
he would have seen the bottle as half full,
instead of a couple swallows away from the next round.

If my father had been a poet,
he would have felt the breeze, absorbed the rain,
instead of simply turning his collar up against it.

If my father had been a poet,
he would have realized that life is full of letting go,
not hanging on, clinging to.

If my father had been a poet,
he would have hated less and had been loved more.

If my father had been a poet,
he would have been one of those grandfathers who always had
a story to tell and a coin in his pocket.

If my father had been a poet,
he would have left fewer questions unanswered.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I especially like "Hawk". It makes me sad and reminds me of home at the same time.