they can feed on each other for the rest of their lives
Footprints and voices, human voices—coming off a cliff; footprints that hid my own, meaning others had walked up the path in Poison Oak Gulch after me. Meaning these others examined the traps.
We have lingered
My thought on seeing the prints from two pairs of shoes, other than mine, was this: I hope they walked through the poison oak.
Till human voices wake us
I am ungenerous. I am misanthropic. I am human—the misanthrope has only himself to hate. In the pathway of the Northern firecut, where quail call from inside poison oak bushes I can be so deep in concentration just looking for signs and locations. Strategies and observations. When voices come down to me, from up on the hill, I am startled from whatever state I’m in
and we drown.
a chill really does run down my back and I feel that small sweet injection of adrenaline meaning I am preparing to fight or to flee.
Is all. Oblivion is all.
There are two places inside of me. There are three or more. There are empty houses of perception. There are ideas about quail and there is perception of quail. Of the male whose tail has moulted and the female with whom I’ve observed him three times and caught him twice.
Don’t touch them
I assume the only reason humans are there is to hurt the quail—either purposefully or just through negligence. Or, that they are in such a different place of existence that I can no longer breach the gap. When I’m out there I’m no longer the person I am when I am in among other people.
Don’t try to
Of course, the idea that the other people are likely to hurt the quail is silly. I am the one trapping, banding and taking blood from them. I am the one who is hurting them if anyone is.
Watch/the flashing stitch of my scalpel. It will answer–/it will connect us with blood
Use the knife
Me and the Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii), that is.
Somebody has vanished from somebody he usually walks with.
As I was taking observations this evening, a/the Cooper’s hawk dove into the brush—there was the sound of a quail distress calling, for just a minute or even less, pitting, and then silence.
death works undercover
I walked down to the brush to try to find the hawk—I pushed through scrub to see if the hawk was eating the kill on the perch where I’d seen him/her several years ago but I couldn’t find him/her. I never saw, for sure, who the hawk carried off to eat.
hidden passages between life and death
It is hard for me to imagine that it wasn’t a quail. That call, and the other calls, and then the silence.
the wind blows the water white and black
Should I tell you a secret?
I grow old
Not sure if I want to, but here it is—I was sad and I wondered what the quail feel, other than the rush from the physiological response to a seriously dangerous situation. What is like to have someone next to you picked off by a hawk?
There would have been time for such a word
What I know is that I don’t know, and can’t know. The quail are not feeling what I would feel, or they are—but to make any sort of assumption, based on the total absence of any real data, would be asinine. They could grieve or maybe they don’t. I think we are beyond Descartes’ idea of nonhuman animals as automatons but, apart from that, where are we? Only in the place of Derrida’s chasms; between me and you, between me and the dead quail, between me and the dead quail’s associates, between me and the Cooper’s. Between me and me.
do you think the girl should write it down, or/should she smother it?
there is death at the center of you
you will be found wanting
Quotes are by Kristen Kaschock, William Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Bill Callahan, Inger Christensen