His yellow talons clutch a gnarled branch
not ten yards away. His regal head
turns to take me in. When he turns back
to look across the lake, I take one step
toward him, another. He lifts and swivels his head,
tilts it down, drills his laser eyes
through my tail-tucked chihuahua. I drag her
by the leash behind me, whisper, “Stay.”
He plumps his creampuff chest, turns away,
pivots forward, spreads his wings, lifts
his red-fanned tail, excretes a stream of white.
I scoop up Maya, hold her tight,
look into her almond-sunshine eyes.
He turns his blood-dark gaze back to his prey.