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So, I sit and watch the nuthatch, the goldfinch, a towhee,

and a wren, battle for cracked corn, sunflower and millet

while the pine siskin and jay flit, distracted

by the Broad-winged Hawk

that drops from the sky

like a torpedo.

It preys upon everything

it snatches.

I know when it arrives

and when it has gone—

a sudden pervasive

stillness descends.

Beyond the skuttle

and the flurry,



Decades later I listen,

as though still seated at the supper table,

four generations of stories handed down—

accounts of Wounded Knee and The Frontier Wars,

indelible—Pine Ridge, Slim Buttes, Ghost Dance,

a century or more of our nation’s long record.


I listen.



Jean Cassidy

Copyright 2019

Photo Credit: Vernon Greeson in Unsplash

art and education, family history, history, poetry, wnc poetry, wnc writers, wnc writing

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