This story is true as a yellow rose in the thicket
a deer will bite off, petals in scrub pine when we aren’t
watching. There is ending: oblivious driver, swerve
of radials, updraft of mammoth wings, tail showing
white. Trust me, I had all my wits, just awakened
from a nap, in no hurry and without hunger
of any kind. As for context: the confluence of tide
and gull, wheelies spun by riders intent on making
impressions, and the impromptu precedent, split-
second connection – a fleet of sanderlings
passing beside the car, their upturned sails
striped across the canvas of crab washed ashore,
dumped overboard by the frigate beyond
the breakers. Center: an elegant, enormous eagle
absorbing the remnant of sun, staring at me
through open window, his tuxedo neatly pressed,
starched white head, collar feathered into lapels,
dark trousers thick, muscular over sand-embedded
feet. He cocked his head toward sea, then back again
toward me, then sea and back again, while I refrained
from moving, scarcely breathing, and waves swarmed
up and back his shore. So staunch his standing,
a layer washed his base, turned and retreated.
I was twenty feet eyeball to eyeball, idling the car
to keep the sound the same, his ocean rolling,
thounding, like sounding only more foaming,
more falling, muted thunder, more swish. We eyed
each other, amazed, I think, the other didn’t flinch.
And then that crazed truck headed right for me.
I switched my lights to signal I was there.
He veered. The eagle vanished. Water pooled
where he had stood and the tracks of the truck
right through there. For a while I traced
the arc of wings, the head turned, aligned,
body swift, the line of sudden lift. If you can
glimpse his aura here, span or shadow, the yellow
tempura of his beak, I can go on believing.
I can return where all that matters is a creature
reckoning: the eyes, the glassy, shutterless eyes.