I’d been so blind, so miserable, I’d not seen my hawk was miserable too.
—Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk
Eschewing the fist, he stooped onto my shoulder,
his talons through my tee shirt entering
my skin my nerve not just to right his landing
but to bind. Instinct tried to shake him off
as I fell backward 
into the soft savannah.
                                               He held his ground
so I wangled a rabbit’s foot from my pocket
into the glove. He leaped to eat and I secured 
his jesses to my hand.
                                              He bated.
                                                                    I wanted love
but had only manned him, he told me now, hacked
him of spirit as he had cut into my bloody shoulder.

It had been up to me whether or not he would fly
so what will happen now as I erase the creance
and the leash?

—James Penha


james_penha_headshotA native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past two decades in Indonesia.