Through earthbound eye
the hawk in flight
maps the course of thought
aloft in circles

surveys new scenes
revisits the old      impossible
to divine the way
it will incline

toward its intent
there all along and
now how straight
it falls to eat


Within each accident,
          very other under all conditions,
                    the light and life-script un-
noticed no-answer urge and
          zoom like plastered, like
                    tucked, like
naked textures swim risen and fell-

wake in your dream of it
          back in the hills
                    fumiture broken for the fire, water
flowing shrill to catch each
          its ping and splendor-

and the small birds, after all,
          are not so much about wishing
                    or the face you sketch without eyes
or the hand you flex to hold
          all this rain.



the square of some measure
the rare
             and slender stems

become an instrument
to flay fact

down to a level above
                                 the actual I
thought I knew
            the flowers here

startled at the word is alight on a hill

Joshua McKinney's Saunter won the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series Competition for 2001. He has poems forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, Colorado Review, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. He teaches at California State University - Sacramento.