Red-Tail, by Alan Toltzis

by Alan Toltzis

Hungry again,
hawk spreads its feathers
aloft invisible updrafts

to choose
the unsuspecting
in the stubble
of last summer’s cornfield.

Sharp squeals, like laughter,
ripple through squalls and drifts.
Atop a pole,
hawk ruffles its tail


Earth’s shadow
creeps across the moon.
Snow-light, bright as washed bone,
eclipses its glow.

Hawk tucks its head
into its shoulder
comforting itself
as a green comet sizzles
invisibly far away.

Process Note: While the poem started with the hawk, celestial events often work their way into my work. This one has two from February— the Snow Moon Penumbral Eclipse on Friday night February 10 and the green Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, which made its closest approach early Saturday morning (Feb. 11) at about 3 a.m. EST passing within 7.4 million miles of Earth. There was also a snowstorm that week that worked its way into section 2.

Alan Toltzis, is the author of The Last Commandment. Recent work has appeared in print and online publications including Hummingbird, Right Hand Pointing, Once Sentence Poems, IthacaLit, and r.k.v.r.y. Quarterly. Find him online at

Josh reading poems by Alan Toltzis here

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