Provide and Provide Again

by | Apr 15, 2023 | Poetry

PROVIDE AND PROVIDE AGAIN by Shauna Shiff

The hawk sits, always the same spot on the powerline,
above where the road curves, a sudden, harrowing bend

that you find on country roads, where less aware drivers
are likely to find themselves in the ditch.

Each morning, there he is, drawn up shoulders,
and from that hunched burl, the sharp skinny hook of the neck

rising to a surprisingly small head,
downturned to stare intently below, as if concentration alone

could manifest a mole. His stiff stillness
says “don’t bother me,” like every father figure

I’ve ever known, hell-bent on completing tasks
even though the noise of children threatens

to interrupt. Let the mother take care of the cries, the tantrums,
the unresolved disturbances. He has mouths to feed.

Below, a switch in the grass then the audible throb
of a pulse, ready to be stilled, calls him

and he answers. With a snap of his wings
he dives down, unencumbered, and so,

successful. Beak full of blood, he flies back to the nestlings,
delights in their quick gulps of meat, red open mouths

begging for more. Soon, he shakes his feathers
in agitation, lifts one restless claw, stomps the other,

misses the solitude of hunting, flies off
when the squabble for the last piece begins.


Photo by Jaime Robles, used and adapted under CC.

About The Author

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Shauna Shiff is an English teacher in Virginia, a mother, wife and textiles artist. Her poems can be found in Stoneboat Literary Journal, River and South Review, Cold Mountain Review, Green Ink Poetry, Cola and upcoming in others. In 2022, she was nominated for Best of the Net.