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You appear on my feeder 

In silence, from nowhere, there, with

Silken gleaming feathers 

Black as a moonless night. 

A three toed trickster

With keen brown eyes,

You feed, head down, head up, broad black beak…

You came alone while

Your life mate tends your nest and clutch of young,

In sandstone cave across arroyo.


I know you know I am near.


I twitch, you jump high into air, 

One flap, turning, strong cocked wings,

You glide like an arrow shot from a bow, 

Straight across my sight.

Then, mockingly, you flip, playful, 

Upside down, pulling wings tight to breast, 

You drop as if dead in sky,

One, two, three…

Back upright, gliding straight, 

quorck...quork…quork…you caw.




Myth says you are kin to the wolf, 

That you are bird, god, and man.

Hunters find you to find their game.

Lost wanderers follow you home. 

Ancient alchemist, nigredo magician, 

You devour flesh of old,

So new ways can be born.

Through mists of time, you shape shift,

Bird of slaughter, eye picker, 

Bird of storm, sun, and fire

Messenger, oracle, god 

Craftsman, and scavenger.

Centuries have made you a mystery. 


But, to me, you are the neighbor, 

Who lives across the canyon.

You squabble with your family, 

And make too much noise. 

You team with your mate, one high, one low,

And drive red tail far over distant ridge, 

Hawk feathers drifting down wind. 

And, you eat my food graciously,

And share it with your family. 

You dance before my window.

And here your are right now,

Just outside this poem on sand stone rock!



I think you are more clever than me, 

And just told me so…

Now, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh,

Three flaps into wet white mist and you are gone.

They say you can live one half century, 

We will be friends for a while, I think.


C. Doyle Hollister MFT

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