Nothing owns the air like this hawk
Before this kill. He commands the air
Like a sovereign would a subject.
The cloud hunter, outstretched

Feathered fingers holding back rotations
As he waits for the guillotine moment –
No thunderclap; an ominous cloud
Of silhouette congealing above.

Carefully hung from the sky,
Blowing in the breeze like washing.
This is his birthright,
Honed by a million egg-cracks.

A hovering executioner.
A sprawling of God.
Steady as a surgeon’s hand
And shadowing death like a drone.

He surveys his surroundings,
Flexes his eye like a strongman’s muscle,
And prepares to conclude nature
And roll away the world in revolutions.

Now he rehearses the perfect kill.
The evening alive with anticipation.
Heavens breathe in.
Seconds pass like tremors

While he toys with the memory of old murders
Between his toes, bobbing and brooding
On the sky’s surface like oil:
A black buoy.

He holds my gaze like prey,
Ricocheting against the wind
With the swing of a hammer,
And then plummets only to make skylines fall.

This poem recently arose after travelling through France when, during a petrol pit-stop, I saw a bird of prey (I believe it was a hawk, although I’m not completely sure) seemingly levitating out above a field in the near-distance while on a hunt. It was quite something; motionless, hung from the clouds. It was probably quite an ordinary sight, however the image of that bird, stuck on the sky, also stuck with me; following me over the next few days like a predatory animal.

Consequently, in this poem I tried to capture the suspense in that moment, the tension in that air of sky, the metaphors that lurked within, and the power of that hawk as it controlled the air like a sovereign would a subject.

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