Hawk and Cardinal
One of the several billion deaths that occurred yesterday,
this one more seemly than most, the photograph appalled me
after I realized the victim was a cardinal. I put it away,
but I kept on seeing it until this morning when the memory
nagged me into looking again. For years now I’ve fed birds
in my backyard, photographed them, savored the pretty ones
like this lifeless female. This hawk is just another bird
I’ve fed-- this is how I think now that I see how she turns
from what she’s killed. Dead means more to me now that I’m
well beyond my three score and ten and my mind lets me see
my human body face up, eyes closed, arms splayed out, limp
and absent from the world, senses discontinued permanently.
The lesson here is that there is no lesson. The world is
is both cruel and kind. Right now I take comfort from this.
David Huddle teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English and in the Rainier Writing Workshop. His fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in The American Scholar, Esquire, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Poetry, Shenandoah, Agni, Plume, The Hollins Critic, and The Georgia Review. His most recent books are Dream Sender, a poetry collection, and My Immaculate Assassin, a novel. With Meighan Sharp, Huddle has co-authored a book of poems, Effusive Greetings to Friends, forthcoming from Groundhog Poetry Press in the fall of 2017, and his new novel, Hazel, is forthcoming from Tupelo Press in 2018.
The Ekphrastic Review
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