Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Plague of Serpents

Two hawks, way up above the trees, gliding in long arcs, slow ellipses occasionally intersecting. One of them carries something in his talons—a snake, trailing like a ribbon as the hawk wheels, his wings perfectly motionless. The snake coils and lashes in his grip

The hawk suddenly flings the snake away and down, letting it fall for a second or two. It drops maybe ten, fifteen feet before the hawk plunges down and snatches it again, then beats wings upward and resumes his idle circling. The snake, still alive, makes again to strike. The hawk has had enough. He releases his prey and lights out for the west, leaving the snake to tumble to the grounds with a lazy, drifting helicopter motion.

From my porch I watch it fall for a slow count of eight; then it vanishes behind the roof-peak of a distant house. All the while the traffic rushes by, everyone intent on their own errands, no one looking up. A singular rain of snakes, and no one’s looking up.

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