A calm wind lilting silver lupine and dill weed
through fields of dune grass, cloud light veiling
a copse of firs in the distance, green brine a dense
tea in the sea below. Thin snakes crossed open
paths into thickets of thorn and shade. Silence
settled into trees. The hawk rose from the shore’s edge,
rode the heated current breezing beside the cliff wall.
In tiered shade of drying bracken fern the rabbit’s
slitted eye in near-sleep shone wet with fear.
Gripped in the hawk’s sight, still, as if stillness
were invisibility, the rabbit waited for its master,
the hawk tunneling down, scudding at drop’s end.
Its red blade of beak sank into soft neck, the bird’s
ancient shape stark against sky, wings cloaked
around its capture. Three, four wingbeats, air quaking,
the hawk flew to a clearing, the sack of a small body dangling
from its claws. Blood blackened the rabbit’s fur,
ran in strands through gold poppies and granite stones.
Head raised, the beak peeled flesh from bone, throat
pulsing around each swallow. Fog smoked from the sea, coiling
over the promontory, rushed a cold cover over the remains,
the hawk springing to flight, vanishing into a white sun.
A Conservatory in Winter
Golden Gate Park
A storm hatches over domed glass,
a sun refracted by water’s movement
over a tangled mass of forest cloud.
Gradations of green woven in branch,
vine, shadow, replicate palm fronds
knit a canopy around an old liana
reaching its aerial roots to the ceiling,
stumped in knuckled bark cracked
with mold. Must fumes from a dense
air of containment; gnats hover a rotted
log with miniature caves where tiny blooms
sprout from moss beds. Ferns sprawl
wormy soil, interlace tendrils cleaving
to trees with bulging fruit misted from above
with a slow descent of warm spray.
Whitewashed panes blot away the terminal
light, the striking rain muted by a waterfall
pooling into tubs of floating lotus, taro
stained with violet. Pockets of heat open
around each tropical overflow, preening
orchids and pitcher plants winding down
iron shelves. A pacific breeze fans an aroma
of narcissus and lily, a scent of perpetual spring
spreading through damp rooms, floors scented
by a century left to its own growth
untouched by a world outside
that long ago lost its capacity to harm.