A Walk in March

by Elsa Johnson

Everything             is exposed and vulnerable        ground frozen

patches of ice softening                     can’t expect leaves on trees

for weeks yet               Movement above :            raptor rides air

settles high in a bare tree          stares down                   Cooper’s?

Red Tail?    Sharp Shinned?                They all look a lot alike :

studies me        large intruder in its naked kingdom                It is

hungry         eats meat         prefers morsels        I’m too big   

Patience hawk  :  small meat’s coming       better hunting ahead

Further on a chipmunk churrrs     flicks her tail       She’s made it

it through a hard winter         I call  :  hawk is hunting the perfect

snack              she dives into her round bare hole          Take care

chipmunk     hawk is hungry :                better cover is coming

Out on the lake the honking geese waddle across the melting ice

drive at rivals with rush of wings                They will breed soon

lay eggs    hatch chicks        Beware geese     hawk is hungry : 

turtle will be hungry too when he wakes up                     Danger

lurks below the ice        snapper swims there            last summer

he took down a full size goose     with a squawk       and a flurry

as wings wrenched air       trying to lift           hang on            lift    

Then goose went down           under the water           and did not

come back up :                    Good hunting     

turtle                      when the water warms