Cooper’s Hawk

My breath’s the wind’s breathless down-stroke
hasty claw like the gnarred finger of juniper
just now clambering for a scrap of your cloak
or your flimsy cloak of skin.  I’m the sniper’s

impossible hyperbola, the hunter’s parable
of tempered skill. Know me by my fidelity
to accuracy and woodlands, my barred tail,
an infidel’s fast-day taste for flesh. Indelible

as the mind’s shadow, I move as you move
am clothed as you’re clothed: pine’s needle-
point etching the borders of  our separate selves.
Predator, prey. Trying to be anything less feeble

than what you are makes you instinct’s cuckold.
Strike and be struck. Hold, hold and behold.


won the 2010 University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize and the 2008 Pablo Neruda Award from Nimrod International Literary Journal. She has published poetry and nonfiction in The New York Times, Best New Poets, and The Massachusetts Review. She received her M.F.A. from the University of Oregon and has worked in the woods, on farms, and in the schools in New Hampshire, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest.