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Shadow Bomb

by Sarah Hudock | Jan 29, 2018

In flight you never really look up.

When you’re on the ground, you look up all the time, especially if you are a chicken. Or a hang glider pilot.

Hawks circle, up there. Clouds develop promisingly. We both thermal up.

Rooster glances up again and again, head on a swivel. Flicker, hitch, threat, turn of a wing against the sky. A chicken’s death glides up there with sudden impact, talons raking. With a throaty warning, the flock freezes instantly, lucky ones already under cover of raspberry leaves.

I glance around, can’t see it. I never see anything. It’s not life-or-death… for me.

Bu they know: you’re over there, perched on that tall branch, tension gathered and waiting. Black crows sound off, screaming, and scatter to the wind.

Cooper’s hawk.

I wait, impatiently. Nothing’s happening. Must be alright.

I turn my back to go; behind it you silently choose your moment, sweeping down, a shadow bomb in my peripheral. The flock explodes in discordant calls, each one a loudhailer: petrified, amplified confusion, scrambling to huddle. I race back with my own yell, clamoring with them. Where did you go? So fast.

There you are, on the fence post now. I charge, I’m bigger than you. You can’t take me on. I am predator too, and those are MY chickens.

You retreat, and I watch you. The cacophony takes much longer to subside: they know how persistent you are.

But I know what it is to circle up there, turning around the sky. I want to be wild. I want to be you.