Come close to earth, young Red Tails roost
on fence posts near the water trough
and rock pile towns of ground squirrels –
and the number of young, half-grown dumb,
diminishes. So addicted to these convenient
meals that fail to look up, the splotchy hawks
are almost tame, almost ignore approach,
feathers like a duster fluffed before they glide
indignantly to another easy, fast food perch.
Every spring we’d ride with sacks of yellow
grain slung from our saddle horns, 10-80
spooned to huge colonies that honeycombed
the ground, come alive, that moved in waves.
Our heavy thumb upon the balance beam,
the poison killed and killed again, coyotes
bobcats and hawks. Only the number of live
rodents and red-headed turkey vultures grew
with the stench from rock piles dressed in black.