From a Leafless Perch

From a leafless perch
set back
on the bank
of a concrete stream,

it watches
with a graceful gaze
as rainbow blurs of steel
swim past
at 80 miles a second.

Lifting one
and then the other,
its talons clasp tight
atop the birch
as a cold clip blows:
Nor’easter off the lake.

Generations long since past
spent their days
stalking
from tree to tree
in a gray sky
sprinkled with snowflakes.

But today, it waits
with a priest’s patience
and casts its graceful gaze
to the wrong side of the stream
where another victim of the sprawl
laps at the dust of the bone-dry bed, then
crosses.

And as two worlds collide,
it tightens its grip
before
letting go and lifting off

from a leafless perch
set back
on the bank
of a concrete stream.

January, 2004

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