The street to the hill we would climb
ran past highways and suburban homes,
those tract houses that look so oddly
alien built on volcanic rock,
in among cholla flowers and sage.
Not adobe that grows like a warm
red mold and melts in rain and wind and time.
The Pueblos will not rebuild an adobe
of the ancient ones or the sacred shrines.
They let the windows, door and walls
crumble to broken-toothed gums.
We are strangers in this world, they say.
Let earth have back what we find in her.
The trail to the hawk banding station
stopped at the end of the street like a dead
end without reason or a sentence
that ends in new awareness. That new sense
of things grew as I climbed the trail,
in the place of no human building,
beyond the city and its chaos promising freedom,
above the fields swollen with new melons.
I was one among the many below the ridge
who came to witness hawk flight north
from Mexico straight up the Rockies.
One of the alienated seeking
redemption in the experience of nature
or simply finding a way to give the kids
a day out of the house and in the air.
The banders descended from the ridge
like prophets with tablets of fire.
The word they promised was not
in their heads or spoken with the lips.
The word lay wrapped in cloth
like a mummy in their tight grip.
It was the bird of the sun, a sign
held in reverence for its wild desire.
It was chance or fate that led me to handle the hawk.
I did not wish to grasp its otherness like
a thing from the shelf. I held him by the legs
so the razor-sharp talons could not clench skin.
The desire to fly filled him with rage and he spread his wings.
We stared at each other, uncomprehending,
I knowing that it did not belong there,
its home a world closed to me.
Home to which return was more
than desire or hunger or path to an end.
His truth more than knowledge or the curious
desire of science might reveal.
Known only to whirlwind and whispers.
(c) copyright 2012 Charles David Miller. All poem rights reserved.
Photo (c) 2012 Reena Walkling http://www.missingthemomgene.com/