Autumn 2000


Alicia Ostriker



Two hawks ride the thermals
so high they look to me like insects
or grains of dust

It is good to be unimportant
I wonder what I look like to them
looping the loop

they can view the whole town at once
plus miles of surrounding landscape
roads and highways across a green-brown fabric.

Now three, five, seven
spin up there
not tired or hungry

I watch them draw sky designs
without instruction
absorbed in their pleasure I guess

the countless atoms belonging to them as good belong to me
spinning at unthinkable speeds in their realm of energy
forming a spectacle of material beauty

well, in fact I have no idea what is meant by material beauty
I lie on my back enjoying my ignorance
the hawks continue their game

Alicia Ostriker's most recent book of poems, The Little Space: Poems Selected and New, 1968-1998, was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Lenore Marshall Award of the Academy of American Poets. Her most recent prose volume is Dancing at the Devils Party: Essays on Poetry, Politics, and the Erotic. Ostriker lives in Princeton, NJ, and teaches english and Creative Writing at Rutgers University.




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