The Sharp-Shinned Hawk

is tiny, long-tailed, works
by stealth in all seasons,
conducting aerial dives

from perches in foliage,
scattering feathers of
songbirds in its path.

It can soar to great heights
or fly low to the ground
to take out its prey,

circling out in the open
with its flap-&-guide
flight. No longer endangered,

it has rebounded, one bright strand
in the story of time &
vanishing. My window opens

onto unseasonable weather—
no frost wreathing the glass—
above the clatter of traffic

where a lone raptor rides
the high currents, only
to slip out of sight.

At breakfast, Emily Brontë fed
bits of bacon & beef to
the merlin she rescued. The heart,

like the sharp-shinned hawk,
is trainable, if a little
high strung. Consider its range

of alarm calls & chatter.

Jane Satterfield was born in Corby, England, and educated in the U.S. She is the author of five books, most recently Apocalypse Mix, winner of the 2016 Autumn House Poetry Prize selected by David St. John. Her previous books include Her Familiars, Assignation at Vanishing Point, and Shepherdess with an Automatic.