Kevin Irie

Hierarchies, The Northern Harrier Hawk

In the mutual exclusion of habitat to shelter,
the harrier gives evidence enough

to decide: your final arbiter is always
above you. Small creatures—mice, voles,

keep low in grasses. Their tracks
just stop like the end

of a sentence. And a claw-mark on dirt
like a signet on parchment proves

the weak do not live by their own assent.
When the hawk slowly

circles above us, it flies the way
we’d walk after dinner, taking

its time after taking a life. Held
by the appetite that holds it

aloft. Holding no part of responsibility
for whatever death

is not yet its own.



Kevin Irie has published poetry in Canada, The States, Australia, and England. His poems have been broadcast on CBC Radio and have been translated into Spanish, French, and Japanese. He has also been long-listed for the 2017 CBC Poetry Prize, nominated for the ReLit Award, and shortlisted for Arc‘s 2009 Poem of the Year contest. His book, Viewing Tom Tomson: A Minority Report (Frontenac House, 2012), was a finalist for the Acorn-Plantos People’s Poetry Award, as well as the Toronto Book Award. He lives in Toronto.

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