Hawk Mountain

Sun on my lips

grandad’s smiling eyes

I’m too small to understand

why he makes us hike

up Hawk Mountain.

Our yearly pilgrimage.

My brother complains

but I troop stolidly onward.

(Second child,

I need my parent’s praise)

We stop at the plaque

A grainy photograph

Men, rifles raised

skies black with migrating birds

And a second photograph

Men with their bounty

Dead birds, necks limp, piled high to rot

We eat raisins out of a plastic bag

That we’ve re-used

at least a hundred times.

I didn’t know then the power

of the small, bald man.

He lived through world war,

nuclear threat,

The near extinction of the red-tailed hawk

Spoke out

and stopped it.