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Red Tail Hawk

By Don Kenton Henry

You beckoned me West, said follow the Red-tailed hawk
Your love was my quest
You said where the hawk stops, that is where you’ll be found
Not in concrete, in glitter; in plastic or chrome
Not this town

Over the plains I went; to the Rockies I roamed
And still you did deny me
Was it your desire to test me for reasons unknown
For what purpose could you elude me so long

The hawk teased me, though it never lost me
It would dip and circle back
Straight into the sun was its track
Where its red became one with that great ball of fire
To blind me . . . was that your desire

To the coast I chased the flight of that beautiful raptor
Headed south past the swallows of San Capistrano
Still futile were my efforts to capture
To the border, then Old Ensenada
In the barrio and on the beach, I twice thought I caught her
But in Mexico she was not to be had
Love is not for the faint of heart it is said
So I quickened my pace and followed the hawk
Through desert and miles of sand
It was somewhere near Tucson, I thought I had lost her
In sadness, I had no other plan

I wandered north
And in the sun, just east of Sedona, at the edge of a mesa –
On the porch of an old mining shack
I thought this quest’s runs its course, as another cerveza I threw back
When out of the arroyo, rose that red tail
First high in the sky, then dove clipping my hat
This story’s not over . . .
Once again I set out on its path

RED TAIL HAWK FROM DENA (Self-Portrait courtesy of The Red-Tailed Hawk)

From Arizona to New Mexico
Through White Sands near Almagordo
It floated above, out of reach . . . like your love
Till it dipped over the line to El Paso
To Texas – oh, how far we had come
From Van Horn to Sonora, where I screamed “I adore you –
Would you please let us both find a home”

I thought San Antone is the place she’ll make her last stand
By the river in an old Spanish mission
But there would be no rivera, only she knew her plan
And near Bandera in a cabin it would end
Through a window she flew, had she led me to you
Through the door I crashed . . . I had found you at last
You said no more I would roam
Texas is where we’ll call home

We kissed and I listened and heard why the mission
Why through feminine wiles you led me cross miles
And you said as you pulled me in bed
If it had been easy, you might sooner leave me
But your quest is not quite over yet
With that she was right, again came the flight of the hawk
Through red rivulets cascading down from her head, to pools of emerald it fled
I saw my reflection in their depth
Past lips which trembled and quivered and I felt the connection as I slowly crept
To grand mountains of white alabaster
And there I did rest thinking this is a test
And though at great cost – I will pass her
I can live with this, I thought, and all’s not yet lost
When from the crevasse, once more rose the hawk
And down through the pass – crossed the flats – and into the valley
It was verdant and lush, I told her so – she did blush
But that red tail still tried to shake me
When I came to a fork that begged, “take me”
And I did

I followed that hawk as it dipped under covers of linen and flannel
No, I did not balk; too far I’d stumbled and fought
To quit now without crossing the channel
I’d come so far, and still was not spent
As I saw its red tail dive into the brush

I stayed on the scent in an effort to flush that bird from wherever it went
The trail’s end was now within grasp; my journey could be over at last
It was here it was caught; it was here I was brought
To a place I’ll call mi cocina
I caught that Red-tailed hawk . . . Consuela Rojo Angelina


One comment on “Red Tail Hawk

  1. Absolutely beautiful…I have read this many times and always feel the power and beauty of hope

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