Noisy Neighbor
Janice Hornburg

All summer, I watched his parents
pluck sparrows and pigeons from my bird feeder
and deliver them to their nest in the dead elm.

He greeted lunch with screeches
like he hadn't tasted food in weeks. I dubbed him
Screaming Eagle, but he was just a chicken hawk.

When he fledged, I followed his floppy
flight with binoculars. He landed on the ground
and had to cross the street to find  a low-branched tree

he could ladder into. I directed traffic.
One morning, he made a lucky grab and paused
on the branch outside my window to bite

the head off  his feathered prey
before winging off to a more secluded spot.
For weeks, walks to the mailbox

were accompanied by staccato calls
as he wheeled overhead, mastering the blinding blue.
Did he feel big enough to take me on?

The house shook when he body-slammed
the picture window. I never found a corpse, but afterwards,
the neighborhood seemed deathly quiet.

Return to Spring 2014 Table of Contents