What the hawk witnesses remains airborne,
secrets kept from the earth-shackled.
Having picked the sacrificial body clean
and taken flight there’s a certain drag
on the tail — the bones dismissed
amid the dust the way all heroes are born.
The dead go on past all forgetting
in downdrafts and the flutter of feathers,
the hawk the last connection to the living.
Only the dead and the birds of prey
know this: To be still in the force of wind
is to contain the energy of stars—
to be human is to accept a cruel anatomy
of bones dragged down by lethargy and gravity.
Sandy Longhorn is the author of Blood Almanac (Anhinga 2006), winner of the Anhinga Prize for Poetry. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Meridian, New South, Quarterly West, West Branch, and elsewhere. She has received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Arkansas Arts Council as well.