W.D. Ehrhart

Red-Tailed Hawks
Mill Grove
Audubon, Pennsylvania

by W.D. Ehrhart

These chattering children fill the woods
with so much raw exuberance one wonders
what's the point of coming here
when any local playground would suffice.

Their teacher twice tells Michael and James,
"Don't throw acorns, please," to no effect:
they start again the moment she turns
to remind Adrienne, "Stay on the path."

Leela's worried she'll fall in the creek.
Chelsea and Ben are pushing each other
when someone, one of the children, shouts,
"There's a hawk!" and points.

"There's another!" "There!" "Another!"
other children cry: four red-tailed hawks
lazily circling, gliding, whirling, wheeling,
riding an unseen thermal up so high

the children tip their heads straight back
and still the hawks rise higher, higher still,
until they're only four black dots
of elemental joy against white clouds,

the children, even Michael and James,
so intent, so silent one can almost hear
wings they want to lift them
where the hawks have gone.

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