By Myer’s Pond

Red-shouldered hawk dived down, grabbed
the last of the moorhen chicks in its talons,
flew up to a cypress fork and a nest of squawking babies.
Only moments before, we’d admired
the parade of moorhens, mother leading her brood
from the safety of the thick-grassed nest
toward the calm blue surface of the pond.
And then the predator struck.
Our breath flew to our throats and perched there.
It was a film surely. It was a documentary:
trained hawk; stand-in stunt chicks who, only last week,
were in an Animal Planet special on fledgling.
The mother hustled the survivors onward.
Death was nothing but a quickening of the step of the survivors.
The troupe plopped onto the water’s surface,
kicked their way clear of the banks.
Above us, hawk babies ate their way around feather, through bone.
How cruel, you said. I nodded in agreement. We left just
as the program ended. Songbirds chirped the fading theme.

by John Grey

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