Gail DiMaggio: “Hawk-Nature”


There are dreams
where I see what the hawk sees:

Winter fields slant and wheel
under me, every line, black,
razored. Then a secret
density in the brambles
darts out, doubles back,
and I watch the hawk
or I am the hawk
powering out of a sour-milk sky.

Churning and snow-spray,
and death squeal. The hawk
is killing the rabbit and killing
the rabbit and still, she is frantic
to kill the rabbit.

In another dream, a man
is dying, a man I loved.
He stands in drizzle, arm up,
shoulder aching, and I hunch and rustle
above his head in the maple,
feathers scrambled,
scarlet eyes studying
elsewhere. Time for
home, he calls. He whistles.
And I fling myself farther,
mid oak, top of the pine,

shadow inside a shadow.

Snowy dawn
and the brindle hunter
stands ahead of me
on the trail, howling.
Here’s the mark where, lifting off,
hawk-pinions carved
a snow angel into a drift.
Here’s a red confusion where
somebody’s heart blood
leaked away.

Gail DiMaggio’s first book, Woman Prime, was selected by Jericho Brown for the 2018 Permafrost Poetry Prize and published by Alaska University Press. Her second book, Ironwork, is forthcoming from Variant Literature in October of 2021. Her work has appeared recently in Ekphrastic Review, Tishman Review, Whiskey Island, and Raw Arts Review. A segment of her current manuscript appeared in Posit in the summer of 2020. She resides in Concord, NH.

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