Going out to feed the birds
on another not-too-cold
gray
morning. The air is still;
quiet
unperturbed. Before
I open the door I see
through the window
Red-Tailed Hawk sitting
atop the center of the roof
of the round-top barn.
I move outside slowly,
watching it
watching the pasture before it.
I don’t know how long it has sat there.
I do know that if I move too close
or open the metal trashcan that holds birdseed,
it will fly. I am aware that I want to move
and that my movement
will cause Hawk to move.

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The feeders are empty,
except for the thistle feeder
and a caged one that only little Chickadee
can get into. The bigger birds
empty the rest of the feeders during the day,
and peck clean all the seed strewn
on the ground beneath the big Hackberry Tree. Red-Winged
Blackbirds, several kids of Sparrows, Red-Bellied Woodpecker,
three Cardinal Couples, and now—just this week—the Meadowlarks.
They come and go throughout the day.
But all day, the three Chickadees
feed. While Red-tailed Hawk sits for hours
on high—tree or hay bale or fence post or barn roof—
watching intently,
diving to pasture to feast occasionally, wee Chickadee
spends its entire day feeding—
snag a seed from the feeder,
fly up into the tree to munch it, back
to the feeder, over to the water bowl,
up to a tree limb, back to the feeder—
seemingly using about as much energy
to get the food it needs to survive one more day
as it needs to have the energy
to survive one more day.

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As I move to feed the other birds,
Hawk slips silently off the top of the barn.
Little Chickadee sits on an empty feeder
waiting—she does not move when I approach—
for me to fill the one next to her with seed.

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I suspect
they, Hawk and Chickadee,
neither one
have any idea
what it takes
for the other
to live.