Jacqueline Vigilanti

Jacqueline Vigilanti works as a librarian. She has lived in the US, Sweden, and England and writes poetry about nature and place. She has published poems with Lunate.

The Osprey

On days when the air feels thin
and my grasp, finger-fine
I go to the lake
to watch the osprey fish,
reed beds buoyant with the
chirrings of buntings
clinging to the stalks
of their perpendicular world,
a muskrat, busy at his building,
leaves a faint trail
through the sedge-combed shallows,
bodies declaring themselves
alive by being,
and from this height I can look
out over the width of water
pushing at its borders
lifting its face to the sky
and I am pinioned by the force
of fragile strength
The osprey, when she comes,
pauses like the drawing in of breath,
before she rolls
untangles herself from the hold
and falls.
I know she has made her catch
when she does not rise
submerged, wrestling,
talons gripping a slick-scaled side
and then,
I see her begin to row,
beating the water, air, then sky
as she ascends.

Grief, like the sparrowhawk

Grief, like the sparrowhawk,
comes when I
am in the quiet
of the grove,
when the chattering chaff of senses
falls away,
a scattering of small fowl
like seed,
or pine and green
that falls from branches
and deadens the forest floor,
no sound
but the shuddering of wings,
restless poplar leaves,
or flap of curtain
at an empty window
that signals a stirring
like summer-sought rain,
its presence pressing behind
the hunkering clouds.
When the sparrowhawk comes
I am waiting,
but not ready
for such raw witness.
It perches
drawing out the balance,
our nearness shared,
paired in place and time
then flies,
and I
turn to see if you have seen it too,
to utter my awe
into an empty wood.