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.