Winter Hawk

 

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He holds vigil in a ravaged tree,
his fields, once tall with corn,
now snow-tipped stubble.

He accepts the unforgiving wind,
the cold, thin light – not wishing
for tomorrow or warmth or spring –
alive only in what is.

I close my eyes, clear my mind
of stubble in my own fields,
gather Now around me like feathers,
like breath.

When I look again, he rises
on fierce, decisive wings –
his crimson tail as brilliant in the January sky
as truth.

 Sarah Russell
First published in Prey Tell

Leaving West Virginia

The road curls snug against the hills,
dips into hollows, rises up through stands
of oak, rough against dun clouds
that promise snow.

Old Jimmy waves goodbye, and Maude
is backlit in the door. Homesick starts here
on this gravel road, I guess — nuzzling deep
in sun-sweet quilts, an owl keeping himself
company at midnight, clanking the old stove
to life come morning.

The world is raw, waiting where the road
goes flat and blurs in a rush to get somewhere.
I watched for dawn this morning, breathless to be gone.
Now I want to salt away this place the way it is,
the way I was.

Sarah Russell
First published in Kentucky Review
Winner, Poetry Nook Contest

Photo by Cerys Lowe

P.S.  New Prompts for the week here.