Yard Work

Rebecca Aronson | Poetry

The hawk is back, she
who gores mourning doves
on the front stoop
pulling loose one bloody filament
at a time. Good mother,
she nests each year high
in a spiny pine from which the eyas
test their downy wings.
Not the neighbor’s
tilting, three-quarters-dead Ponderosa
that will fall one of these gusty days
across a nearby roof, smashing fences
and dragging down power lines, but on the other side
from where that neighbor
yells at his dog.
The hawk nests there and from there
scours the yards of small birds and rodents.
I worry for the cat, though she is fat
with sun-laze and lizard tails. I worry
for the hawk, the poisons
the dog-shouter sprays in his harbor
of skeletons, the tinder-box of his yard stacked tight
with dried wood. He roars
into the phone for hours. He paces
his rickety domain poisoning and yelling,
a little capsule
of America.
After the hawk sends her babies into the world
to hunt for themselves
they will move to another neighborhood.
My son is somewhere, driving
my parents’ old car,
the one I steered across the country
after their last apartment had been cleared out—
it’s not so old really, but there are cranks for the windows
and just a radio, no screens or parking help or
Bluetooth anything—
while I wander
the perimeter of what I think of as mine. He’s out there
with the shouters and the poisoners
and the other fledglings
and I am here, digging out
one deeply-rooted weed at a time, watching
the mother hawk as she swoops and returns, swoops
and returns, carrying her wounded
offering from margin to margin.