Here is a draft of a poem I started a good while back...I have merged a few moments together as if they happened dreamlike in a short while...I have spent a few days at the hawk watch at milepost zero, aka Rockfish Gap, Afton Mountain. I have seen several thousand raptors there in a day, and have seen migrating butterflies and dragonflies at this site as well. This draft scarcely edges on that topic, even though I do mention Veracruz, where four million hawks (and counting) have been tallied this fall season....would love to spend a day counting a gazillion hawks, kites, accipiters, vultures, falcons, harriers, ospreys, yes!

Scott Jackson-Ricketts suggests I call the poem Waynesboro Exit, so that is what I will call this incarnation for now. I plan to post a couple more poems in a few days.


The interstate freezes on Afton Mountain.
A few vultures perch on some broken pines.
I can see thin ice crusted on their feathers.
Traffic is sliding past the Waynesboro exit.

I'm parked in my rusty blue truck watching
clouds steal against the steep embankment
of Rockfish. Migration has fizzled into stones.
Not one hawk glides anywhere, a white pigeon
flaps from a bridge, and claps its feral wings
above the morning's grunting load of timber
scabbing around a curve.

I blame the bright noon hour of my windshield.
I think the sun has cracked open all the clouds
and I'm November talking to myself, talking
an empty sky into seven crows and a stray duck
shouldered from nowhere. I might just haul dirt
to my dead garden, might guzzle some cold rum
and laugh at you counting thirty thousand hawks
soaring today past Veracruz.

Copyright 2009, Clyde Kessler