Who is the prey?

The shock of birds of prey came home to roost this week on our suburban lake. The still patience of the Great Blue Heron has been superceded by the instantaneous swoop of the osprey, and that a hawk that has discovered our Purple Martin house as an easy meal. Noticing that we only have seen one butterfly where last year we had swarms, and only a few fireflies, I wonder if we have already entered a changed ecosystem.


by the osprey’s talons,
the fish rises
from its watery world
into a foreign element – air.

Can it see
the strange beauty
of this unforeseen vista?

Its last moments,
pierced and choking,
carried away,
seeing sky
and grass
and trees
for the first
and last time.

No frame of reference,
no escape,
just like life
when you are blessed
by the cosmic 2×4,
transforming your precious head
into a line drive to left field.

The horror,
the shock,
the resistance,
the yearning
for the comfortable habits
of life-as-I-know-it,
of life-as-I-want-it,

I was content there
OK, maybe not
completely happy,
but it was fine enough.

And now
new pains
and restrictions
shackle me down,
as new possibilities
unfold above.

Comfort gone –
can I revel in this catastrophe?
Learn to breathe air
not fluid
and earn some relief
from this grip?

Having flown
far from my home base
by no will of my own,
can I make the best
of this unexpected reality?
Or just let go into being dinner?


Blaise Kielar received Honorable Mention in the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for an excerpt from his memoir in progress, "Be Heard: The Quiet Kid Who Started the World’s Loudest Violin Shop." He opened Chapel Hill’s first violin shop in 1978 and retired from a music retail career by transitioning Electric Violin Shop into the first worker-owned co-op music store in the United States. He plays jazz violin and clarinet in several bands and leads the Bulltown Strutters, Durham’s community New Orleans brass band.

One Comment

  1. Lee Raymond

    Why, Blaise, I had no idea that you write poetry. Thanks for sharing it; and I understand your discomfort with these pretty rapid changes in our environment. Perhaps, though, your butterflies came our way. Last year we had almost none; this year we have many at our butterfly bush.
    Hope your spam filter is okay.

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