Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Somewhere Beyond the Wheel

A Haibun

The sound of the hawk’s talons as they click against the cement floor is sharp and crisp. The raptor moves carefully, head ducking, hard eyes scanning the empty and leaf-ridden floor of the abandoned factory floor. She studies the rusting press machine that once stamped steel into shape, her barred feathers shivering then going smooth. So effortless while in flight, she is tentative and shy upon the ground, hopping over the remainder of box end wrench. She hears the rustle of a rodent in the dark corner of the arching metal-sided structure, her whole body galvanized, her beak swinging unerringly toward the sound.

Exploding into the dim vault of the superstructure, the pounding of her wings echoes across the silent remnant of the production line. She dips, hearing the last, interrupted squeak of her quarry as her talons pierce it, crushing it to her smooth belly and bearing it aloft. The long, bright aperture of the loading dock door allows her to burst back into nature, into the tentative resurgence of sapling trees and brambles as they tear their slow holes in the broken pavement. The far treeline at the edge of the untraveled road allows her to disappear, to find a high, safe place above the ground. She holds the rodent against a tree limb, her beak partially open, her breath coming across a thin, pink tongue as she prepares to duck her head for the meal. There are no more white, crossing lines in the sky, no more strange drones and humming. The raptor doesn’t think about this, doesn’t reckon it. She simply is, the tip of her beak red now with blood.

Echoing empty
Ghosts of manufactured things
A song long finished

All the timid things
Called back from far horizons
After titans fall

All these mighty works
Just scars upon the darkened
Immortal beast’s flank

Where travels the wind?
What use, these songs, long ended?
Words, with none to read?

Patrick M. Tracy


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