In the home improvement store parking lot,

red-tailed hawk swoops, lands

on a light standard. He’s young,

feathers still scruffy with unshed down.


He folds in his wings, settles in for a rest,

pays no attention to the mockingbird

whose perch he’s just invaded, not caring

that this small bird could be his next meal.


The mockingbird cares greatly. Recognizing

his ancient enemy, he uses his fluency

in bird speak to curse the hawk. He begins

his war dance, flaring wings and tail, hopping


closer to the larger bird, teasing, retreating.

He takes flight, somersaults over the hawk,

circling him again and again, singing melodic

insults, always out of reach of beak and talon.  


The hawk takes no notice. He sits there, suffers

the abuse, ignores the scrappy small bird

on the attack. Who knows if David won,

or if Goliath just got bored. In the end,


the hawk, no longer looking young or scruffy,

spreads his wings, lets the air carry him away,

leaves the mockingbird alone

to dance his victory.