by Katie Hoffman
There are two hawks darting around the sky. Their spans are clearly forked, acing the wind currents, which are brief and cool, some salt sucked up in the cycle and laid in. They are seen by a girl walking, unsure of hawk behavior but certain that the two are playing. She'll say they're invested in each other and begin on the whim of marriage and wonder how long it would be before she'd ever agree to love someone forever while she stoops to pick up a pile of warm excrement, newly dropped out of her dachshund. The afternoon has turned out to be very beautiful. The ocean is dark blue with a whipped surface and the air all slow gusts. Dogs and people are smiling. Also, there are birds invested. The two hawks touch beaks and fall together, have forgotten to use their wings, refuse to out of politeness for the momentum of one another. For a moment, their feathers look as if on fire as the birds plummet, brown flames shake just over the wing bones. Their talons have also been forgotten and flail, scratching their curl. Yet they don't hit anything. Not the ground. They are framed in the girl's view by two telephone lines.
I wrote Hawks upon coming in from walking the dog who after doing her business, ritually kicks up dirt and rocks, sending the debris flying over toward me while I bend down with an inside out neon plastic bag. The bag is always unnecessarily stamped all over with paw prints, a small example of the worst kind of useless décor other than paper towel designs or girls' boxed notions of bedazzling. My dog stopped to stare at the hawks. Briefly, the two of us were on edge about them in the sky, our eyes and our heads rolling as if in awe of two stunt pilots whose heavy aerodyne machines could easily collide and crash.
Katie's work has appeared in homemade books and snail mail ephemera. She is currently working on a collection of stories that feature some sort of unbelievable event or detail in hopes of fooling the reader. She writes and lives in Pacifica, California, where she enjoys interacting with the strange locals and happening upon the roving galleries of the lone painter of pie-eyed and sad stuffed animals rendered in pastels.