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An advent of raptors haunts the scant gray woods
or loiters over mall roofs.
We wake to their screams as if this were high sierra,
not Ohio where parents try-out or manage children,
open party stores, hunker through the coming
and going of baby Jesus; de-ice puffer jackets,
tend to flocks.
Gloom is plowed behind snow dunes.
The red-tails roam in loose federations.
Their young, mob-handed and loutish,
the mature work in pairs
scything small birds, ripping through
the thinning, the hold-outs,
the weakened and walking.
And the first born listen with the last of us
while the hawks dance proclaiming their time.
A time of fervid litany and electric barricades,
of bobble hats and mittens,
while a black brier
raises bloody thorns in chary praise.
Copyright © Eric Ashford