Pray not to Heaven
For Heavenly bird
Or Heaven may take you
At your word.
— Stevie Smith
Hawks do not slink, cower, praise God, reminisce, forgive, pray, or worry.
Hawks preen, determine, kill, dive, climb, curse, and show off their profile.
Hawks turn away.
Hawks have never heard of you.
Hawks are restful to think about.
Hawk sightings seem distinguished.
My father exulted whenever he spotted a hawk: he loved to point the bird out to us. It’s odd that toward the end he hallucinated a huge threatening hawk in a corner of his bedroom ceiling. My mother reasoned with him: “There isn’t any hawk up there.” And when that didn’t work, seeing his agitation, she went to the corner and waved her arms all around. “See Bob, there’s no hawk—“ but it seemed clear that he hadn’t bought that.
Why do I think it is a blessing—like kicking up a ruby in gray gravel—that I keep seeing hawks in the city? That hawk high above me and above all the pigeons I ignore on 14th Street.
A huge Hawk came circling up around my windows, higher than our 19th floor office in the West Village and spun wheeling past—I was so glad a colleague saw him. I wanted a witness.
The hawks are everywhere I go—one overhead in Prospect Park—and then I spotted another one atop a light pole the same day as I was driving down Prospect Expressway.
And two hawks screaming overhead, fighting, right above our heads, making me and a new widow so happy on the McCarren Park tennis court.
And in Central Park, a small hawk in a high tree above the reservoir on January 1st.
And then yesterday as the snow started to fall in Guilford, Connecticut, I saw on a walk along the Sound, a particularly beautiful hawk perched on a white birdhouse.
I can’t go anywhere without hawks—at the Dzama/Pettibone show in Chelsea, for example:
(One of my best friends is a chickenhawk.)
I’d like a Hawk to nest in my back yard,
I’d like to have a backyard.
I’d like Hawks to attend my funeral. – BKE