I guess like losing anything, I thought
it was coming back at first. And then days
crowded round with nowhere else to go—
I noticed time had passed. One minute
coughed politely, I raised my head to see
the spent hours standing there—that’s when I first

felt shame, and not the day I tried to turn
the bird to gold. I gripped her talons in my fist,
and nothing changed. I opened my hand, the hawk
started up—two, three stuttering flaps—
and rose beyond my reach, climbing into
the late afternoon as if light were a solid thing.

She reached the great hall’s rafters. Forty heads
tipped up to see her perched on gilded beam.
No one looked me in the face. Maybe a page
showed the audience out. One farmer kept glancing