The Real Event

For Linda Hogan

By Marge Piercy

 At that conference we were required 
all us poets and novelists, to give
a quasi-academic lecture of pure shit
served up as blanc mange. I cannot
remember what wan jargon I mewed
or what anyone else spewed, dense,
earnest, boring as mouthfuls of sand
but you I remember with clarity
not your lecture, but that because
you were working with wounded
raptors, you brought a red tailed
hawk, huge, female, perched
on your wrist glaring at us
with eyes of furious topaz.
She was molting. As she
groomed herself a feather
precise as an obsidian knife
and delicate as babyhair
floated into the audience
and I grabbed it. Great
wings stretched out; she
shrieked. You calmed her
and she settled. That vision
imprinted my eyes like black sun.