Santa Fe National Forest
Where Atalaya Trail meets tiny tributaries
formed by El Niño’s leaky faucets,
two black pines rise, stirring
with Cooper’s Hawks, one in each tree,
their barrel-breasts heaving
as they fan their blue-gray wings
and shake their black-banded tail feathers,
acting like self-important sentinels on a break,
jabbering about the chance of rain
or the next meal they aim to hunt, soaring
above the sagebrush as they do,
searching for birds to snatch and squeeze to death.
They seem to think God put them here,
long ago, after mountain and desert,
before man and woman, while ants populated
their intricate colonies, a wonder
these birds have never noticed,
sky swimmers and leaf loungers that they are,
the soil to them a mystery
as deep as a moonless night,
the very thing they never mention.
Julie L. Moore is the author of Particular Scandals, by Cascade Books. Her other books include Slipping Out of Bloom and Election Day. A Best of the Net and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Moore has had her poetry published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, Nimrod, Poetry Daily, The Southern Review, and Verse Daily. Her work also has appeared in several anthologies, including Becoming: What Makes a Woman, published by University of Nebraska Gender Programs, and Every River On Earth: Writing from Appalachian Ohio, published by Ohio University Press. You can learn more about her work at julielmoore.com.