You wrote that you were visiting family
near the Georgia line, your own little heart
of darkness. You didn’t say if your brother
saw you backing into another marriage

or what you thought when Gram’s new husband
walked through the dining room cocking
a shotgun over the sweet potatoes. You wrote
there was a hawk killing Aunt Gail’s chickens

and leaving the bodies behind to rot in the yard.
You wrote that you found the hawk very dead
and shot: a sharp-shinned female, very soft.
You’ve never seen a bird that beautiful, you wrote.

You said its yellow eye looked skeptical
and reptilian. You did not say whether
the chickens were the same or better, or whether
the hawk was more beautiful as a metaphor or dead.

Matt Muth