American Kestrel: Falco sparverius

Amaris Feland Ketcham

Millions of locusts swarmed
a mile deep—overhead they show bright green
on the meteorologist’s radar, with yellow
highlights and neon blue fringes, a tropical storm
where Jim Morrison’s face emerges then breaks
up over downtown because fewer trees trap less heat.
The American kestrel who sits on my telephone
wire grows fat and sleepy with this weatherman’s plague.
The petite falcon just last month had a worried look,
a stain of running mascara down her eyes; she kleed,
whined, and chittered in the midday heat.
He stayed in the semiopen desert hills,
here and there abandoned lots; his heart
didn’t seem into it anymore. Maybe
because I was calling him a sparrow hawk
or a grasshopper hawk, but the false eyes
on his back increased his stillness. Not a pocket mouse
nor a whiptail lizard moved.
Their nestlings began talking after sixteen
days, saying Killy killy killy, as they fed
on the mile of locusts.


KetchamAmaris Feland Ketcham is a regular contributor to the arts and literature blog Bark, which is affiliated with Willow Springs magazine. She has recently been published in the Los Angeles Review, The Rumpus, and Utne Reader.  “American Kestrel” is a part of a greater collection of poems, which is a poetic inventory of the Sandia Mountains near her home.