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

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