The Corner

Poetry

CRITIC

The black-capped skull obliviously alert

(My stare had not yet caught its yellow eye),

                                       His head jerked left then right.

Between each stab: the hooked neb, pricking at

             An upturned breast, its puff of white

             In full surrender to the sky.

Two talons clamped it to the garden dirt.

             To right and left the raptor spat

Out tufts of what it would not eat. Each feather-

Bit flew sideways to the grizzled snow

                               Not half through March’s thaw.

All this is what I saw from where I stood

             Behind my kitchen window: claw

             And bill-hook putting on a show

             That tied me to them on a weightless tether

             And dared me to pronounce it good.

— This poem appears in the February 9, 2015, print edition of National Review.

Len Krisak is an American poet. He has taught at Brandeis, Northeastern University, and Stonehill College.

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