| In the Orchard, I explain: here is where the ceremony goes, here for the reception
By Amber Norwood
There is commotion, tussle in organic,
in flight and without it. They drop from the tree
a heavy walnut, but furious.
The hawk. The pigeon.
There is hunger, terror,
magnificent tremble, laws at work, and for a while,
we stop arguing about who sits where,
pays for what, and stare instead at nature
becoming, as it will, highly emblematic.
The hawk is untroubled by audience,
by her interest in ritual's gravity,
our silence unnecessary. Nor is she concerned
with pigeon-head, its face. She removes it, goes straight
for the meat of the heart, all that life a bird
carries in the soft part beneath its throat.
Nor does the hawk concern herself with things other than pigeon,
the corn the pigeon stole from the neighbor's farm.
Instead, she carefully pulls the tender lining
from its body, where whole kernels
still sit. She shakes it, scatters gore,
these seeds into November grass,
another opportunity for change,
which is why we've gathered here together anyway,
on a runner of feathers, beneath an arch of sky –
all the romantic traditions: pairing, violence,
and she who catches
the tossed red-tail
bound in white ribbon
will be the next offering.
© 2007 prickofthespindle.com
Amber Norwood recently received her M.A. in Poetry from Cal State Northridge and now teaches writing at a few colleges in and around Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and cat. When she is not teaching writing, or commuting between colleges, she is making music and writing poems. Her work has previously appeared in The Northridge Review, Luhith, and The Bandersnatch.