F. Daniel Rzicznek

The hawk at first is a filthy bag
kicked upward from the ditch

only to congeal atop a fencepost
and huddle facing into the North:

no surly reflection of human soul,
no outpost hailing to the self,

I myself being already through him—
equal to ditch and equal to hawk.

To recognize one's own body,
see it lurch then sweep across the day,

later tucked within the house at dusk
as in an envelope, as in enveloped

this would take a turning wider than
the turning the earth takes as it goes,


enacting the great fear of the I
through driving that I deeper down

undriven roads, undriven at least
by the I (stirrings of road after road)—

and what fastens one rough view
to another? Angles of light, motion, rain.

Angle of sight and angle of speech,
each an opposing zone on either

flank of the restless, relentless horizon
where (as it reels) fields, trees, houses,

and clouds spring instantly eyeward—
where via diction's narrow lens

two thin coyotes trot along a fencerow,
shouldering the whole history of death


and later, when the bare forest jostled
and froze, when my footfalls hit my breath

and faded—a patch of snow fluttered:
the doe took seven light steps.

And the doe behind her took three,
and behind her, and then behind her

until their quartet was plain against
the grayscale of a fledgling March

into which they suddenly plummeted,
blended, reemerged, nervous as waves

before some mindless ocean storm
that only, and briefly, brushes land:

such was my intent to avoid them,
such was my folly to follow after.





Unless there's a good reason (like eating) I tend to leave animals alone. A great blue heron is fishing in one part of the river, I'll keep walking to the next set of rapids before wetting my line. My dog decides to close himself in the bathroom (by nudging the door with his head), I'll allow him an hour or two of privacy. Four deer bolt into the March woods, I'll rethink my route with their peace in mind. During the grimy, monochromatic weeks between winter proper and spring proper in the northern Midwest, natural objects can be mistaken for manmade objects and vice versa. Because of this, it is easy for the eye to slip into a strange, pleasant trance with the landscape while walking or driving. My mind, however, is usually at odds with this trancelike state, probing uselessly the acts of seeing and being seen, and the fact that moments cannot be revised.