Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tuesday poem #310 : Tanis MacDonald : Hawks and Handlers

At the Medieval Faire we watch
two women in leather jerkins
cinched with wide brown belts and 

tethered to their wrists a peregrine
hawk with its dark head and slate wings
and a barn owl with a face like

a Venn diagram and the hawk handler says
They don’t like being with us so we can’t
pet them and they won’t fly to glove

for food because the hawk will ball
its claws up and punch its prey to break
its neck before eating it

but we keep these big birds fed and
protected so they are getting all their
needs met and aren’t looking for another

relationship and all the couples and maybe
some singles in the crowd laugh and
the hawk handler blushes. She didn’t

mean it that way not at all and I look
at you with your camera to your eye
twisting the lens for a close-up of the owl’s

white face floating in the dim tent and know
the cat will spring at our ankles when
we walk in the door she will bare

her teeth and pounce preparing for the day she’ll
take us down with matching thuds and eat us
beginning with our eyes

and know we were getting all our needs met

Tanis MacDonald is the author of five books of poetry and essays, including Out of Line: Daring to Be an Artist Outside the Big City, and the editor of two collections. Her next poetry book, Mobile, will be out with Book*hug in Fall 2019. Recent work has appeared in Atlantis, Understorey, Prairie Fire, and Lemon Hound. She lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

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