After I choose a rock mid-way down the slope
and sit to watch the ocean, a red-tailed hawk
claims the rock below, observes the way
I eat my apple, scans the cliff-side vetch
and wort, launches, pounces on an insect,
then retakes its boulder. I’m used to being
the only hungry predator here, but the hawk
does not seem bothered. It lets me admire
its hook of beak, the holstered power
in its folded wings, its outsized claws
resting on the lichen like scythes.
Two ravens make a showy landing
on the rock behind me. Thick-billed.
Close. Each squawk, a detonation.
I get a little bothered, sandwiched
between the red-tail and the ravens, heads
like war hammers. Still, this privilege
of sudden beauty—and just when
I’d given up on mercy in the world.