Until today, I have never seen
Three hawks fly as one in tight formation.
They twist overhead, graceful semaphores,
Cresting the drafts above Rogue River
Which runs swollen and swift with late rains,
Bright gray, lustrous as chunks of tungsten,
Quick with steelhead spawning in the riffles.
There is a woman of Greek descent
East of the Cascades, an aquiline beauty,
An ancient soul; she knows her birds, their omens,
And the ways of men. An old curse keeps us apart.
Were she here, she could tell me what this means
Beyond its own self-sufficient beauty;
Foresee the future in these emblems of air.
And even if her gift deserted her,
Or if she saw some pathetic end for us
And held her tongue, still, we could clasp hands,
Walk without words down the gritty bank,
Startle a grazing bobtail back into the brush
Hold each other, for a day, a stolen, mythic day,
While rapids rush down from Hellgate Canyon.
Brad Hatfield was born in Yakima, Washington. He graduated from the University of Washington where he studied poetry with Nelson Bentley and David Wagoner. Recent publications include poems in Snow Monkey, WPA Whispers & Shouts, and Switched on Gutenberg. Brad was 1st place winner of the 2008 Yakima Allied Arts Juried Poetry Contest. Brad is a Vice President of National Specialty Underwriters, Inc. in Bellevue, Washington. Brad lives with his companion Rhonda and their son Grayson in Mill Creek, Washington.