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A Poem: On a Bad and Unexpected Diagnosis of a Friend’s Mother 

I saw Death surrounded by his paparazzi
at Union Square, across from Barnes & Noble.
A hawk had dropped a pigeon and was staring
down a flock of iPhone-slinging tourists.
Defiant in his role as apex predator,
He gave no ground and plucked and plucked the liver.
The humans snapped away, enraptured by
the bold display of natural selection
So out of context, far removed from Wall Street
And the Natural History Museum.
As for the victim, one could only guess
at what ran through her brain before the talon.
“With so few hawks in town; so many pigeons,
What were the odds? This morning I was happy.”

Speaking of...

  • A poem by David Van Biema.


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