Glenna Holloway


Summer is sweet on the tongue,
soft on the shoulders as kachina clouds,
unlasting as the corn god’s shades of green.
Yesterday when the sun centered on my roof,
the red-tailed hawk ringed the hot glare
forcing shut my eyes, tightening his circle
and pouring down his cries on my doorstep.

He is back with the dawn. Down and down
he hurls his keening like splinters of ice.
The hawk is a prophet of the hunger moon—
a time of no more corn, a season when
the deer go far, snow hiding their tracks
to places no man can find.

None of us will starve, not even the hawk.
For me, famine is of the spirit, winter
of the soul, while the body fuels on dried fare,
and the only sweetness comes in jars. The wings
are first to wither, then the deep singing.

Someday I will follow the hawk. I will climb
past mounds of dead-gold buckbrush.
My foot will rattle shards of ancient lava,
startling lizard and pika into the dominion
of talon and beak. I will face the she-wind
angering in the cinder cones, prying
into scattered shadows of the sacred peaks.

There in the secret heights I, too,
will master the proper maintenance of wings.

Glenna Holloway, 82, of Naperville, is a returning Illinois Senior Poets Laureate award winner. She is a retired silversmith and enamelist who now concentrates on poetry. She won the Pushcart Prize in 2001; Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, 2005; two NFSPS grand prizes, 1987 and 2007. She has a new book, Never Far From Water and Other Love Stories, 2010. Her sign is Aquarius.