A Change of Ownership

The hawk lit with unstudied gentleness
onto a branch of its mesquite, the tree
that had been our mesquite

a few seconds before
in what had been our back garden
a few seconds before—lit with the gesture

of the remains of a dove it had killed
somewhere else in another of its gardens,
by our timid standards darkening now.

Perched on that mesquite branch
the hawk finished the dove as dessert
on a gray bed of feathers and bits of bone.

The hawk profile that had posed itself
before Pharaoh and high potentates,
its red Egyptian eye, one profile one eye,

displays the bird’s ownership of ages
and the mesquite’s ownership of ages
and we know now how the mesquite

is its own mesquite in spite of us,
which life it is kind enough to share
with us who once owned, borrow now.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.