It began with Winnie the Pooh earrings.
It ended with Winnie the Pooh earrings.
It was raining that day, the day I decided to wear
my Winnie the Pooh earrings, a gift from a friend
years ago, although we no longer speak, but that’s
another story. I’ve been in feral cat rescue for
decades. My current colony of twenty-five cats
and kittens lives in the state forest behind my house.
On that evening, when the rain finally stopped
and the sun broke through the clouds, I was able
to feed the colony. All the cats and kittens lined up
at their food bowls. So many tiny kittens that year.
So many. While they were eating and I weeded
my garden, I heard the shrill whistle of a hawk,
watched him circle overhead, and then swoop
down at breakneck speed, flying low toward
the kittens, some still eating, unaware of what
was about to happen. I dropped my hoe and raced
toward them, screaming at the hawk, screaming
at the kittens, waving my arms to create a distraction.
It worked. The hawk doubled back, still flying low
at high speed. This time straight toward me.
Straight for my face. It happened so fast
there was no time to react. Seconds before impact
the hawk shifted to the right, the feathers of his wing
brushed my face, the whoosh of hawk wind blew
through my hair. Shifting again, he shot up into
the sky, claws empty, leaving me behind, the breath
of hawk still fresh in my hair, the touch of bird
feathers tingling my cheek, my face unmarked,
the kittens safe, and the setting sun dancing
off Winnie the Pooh as he dangled from my ears.
Laura Stamps is a narrative poet. Books and chapbooks: THE YEAR OF THE CAT, IN THE GARDEN, CAT DAZE, TUNING OUT, and more. Winner of the Muses Prize. Recipient of 7 Pushcart Prize nominations. Shortlisted in the Loft Books Poetry Competition. You can find her every day on Twitter: @LauraStamps16.