Patricia Clark: “When the Hawk Refuses to Fly”


When the wind ratcheted up, tuning its howl,
I left my small hut under the white pine,

preferring the house and its heat, its full
kitchen and stock of candles, matches, books.

I also left a couple of pecker-fretted trees,
sure to fall, and the fifty foot red oak,

sure to last. If I eat two clementines a day
will they ward off what could be coming?

Dark enough I can’t name it—very sly
and pernicious, maybe something in DNA,

blood, marrow of the bone. The hawk, sharp-
shinned, refuses to fly in this weather, staying

on its nest, swaying there, and the lost
seeds of perennials go scattering off

to dry places where they’ll bloom next year.
Surprised at volunteers, we forget the wind.

The house rides low to the ground, hugging
it for stability, a smooth sail through the night.

Above the racket of tree limbs clattering, bone
bucket, an oak’s trunk groans like a man down.

Patricia Clark‘s fifth book of poetry is Canopy (Terrapin Books, 2017). Her recent work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Coal Hill Review.

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