A peregrine this morning took a pigeon on the wing, dove between the power lines
and snatched it from its box of air and landed in the driveway,
where it stood, poised and polished as a trophy, on the broken thing.
But the pigeon wasn’t dead. It shifted in the falcon’s claws
to free its head and wings. The falcon balanced there, a trick-rider
on a horse, moving with its moving mount—until all movement
ceased, its talons mounted now upon the pigeon’s neck. A drift
of feathers spread around. But still the falcon didn’t feed—it paused
instead beneath the sudden, open sky, all hooked beak
and topaz eye, and pivoted its head, wary of the world of thieves.
BIRD STEALING BREAD
Between the restaurant’s outdoor tables the house sparrow hops repeating its single liquid note. Nearby, a spaniel doesn’t lift its head. The brick’s crumb-dusted, a field at sparrow-eye level ripe for harvest. The bird bounces, picks a crumb, another, lets it drop and picks the next. It tilts its head as though it half-heard a distant sound. And then that note, that note, round like a bead of water, moving oblong through the air, filling the patio drop by drop until it sluices the blank face of every brick. Singing please, please, please.
Shane Seely's The Snowbound House won the 2008 Philip Levine Prize in Poetry and was published in 2009 by Anhinga Press. His chapbook, History Here Requires Balboa, was published in 2012 by Slash Pine Press. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and his website is shaneseely.com.