by J. Randick
I can’t tell you where the hawk goes once he has left the periphery of skeletal branch and steel grey sky. I wish I knew.
“Will it be cold?”
“It’ll be warmer than an August day under the eaves.”
Perhaps I never have to know. It’s enough the hawk lingers, its wing tip brushing against a crystalline dawn.
“How do you know about my secret place?”
“I know everything. You’re my son.”
“You’re right. Not everything. What do you do in your place under the eaves?”
“I play. And I’m not afraid.”
“You never have to be afraid again. Take my hand.”
Soon he soars out of vision. The sky is strange and empty without the black silhouette of wing and quivering, rounded torso. It feels like the hawk has kept its vigil for hours, but I know it must only have been moments. I already miss it, the way it split heaven and earth in graceful latitude.
“I’ll be right here. I’ll never leave you. You’re my blood.”
“My blood and breath.”
“The snow -- hurts.”
“Think of your place.”
“Under the eaves, it’s warm. Think hard and don’t let go.”
The mountain air bruises blood, turns breath to ice. The hawk returns, pivots and wheels through the hoary blast of wind. I follow, until I have found where the hawk goes; the wood beam crosses the eaves, my son’s hand in mine.