I witnessed a murder, and I’m complicit!
My majestic Cooper’s Hawk is much more admirable
sitting on my fence preening, posing, scanning—
scanning for an anonymous lunch.
But this lunch was screaming!
It was the screaming that got my attention—
little bird screaming,
And not in the dead of night, but in the light,
on my lawn,
by my window.
I didn’t want to watch, but I couldn’t break away.
He held him down with those talons, those strong wiry talons,
so much more picturesque gripping my fence.
This gripping was a National Geographic tooth and claw kind of gripping.
He pecked with hooked beak—all that power,
planting in flesh in flesh in flesh,
in the writhing, screaming flesh.
He spread his wings, he flapped and gripped and grabbed
while blackbird, my well-fed blackbird, my backyard fed blackbird
It made me shutter, but I dared not look away.
I felt guilt and contemplated becoming a vegan,
but it was amazing and strangely beautiful,
this carnage in my backyard.
I fatten his prey with my feeders.
I lure him here with my camera and admiration.
And I know he, too, must eat—it is the way of things.
But it was that screaming,
that blackbird screaming,
that backyard screaming . . .
I witnessed a murder today, and I am complicit.