The falcon had sharp talons and a hooked beak.
He ate rodents, smaller birds, and her mother’s paycheck.
He was the dark smudge in the sky on a clear day.
He was a predator.

The falcon never wrote or called or visited or asked about her.
He never got her Christmas card with the angel and the glitter and the Love, Sofea.
He missed every single birthday, but he kept the snow globe with her little girl picture in it.
He was a collector.

The falcon brought a Bob Marley poster that stunk like old booze.
He brought the poster with the red and the green and the yellow and the smiling teeth.
He put his anger through the plaster and shattered it all over the floor.
He was an animal.

The falcon got them a bouquet of flowers to save his sorry soul.
He got big pink roses and white daisies with the stems cut long.
He said she was his beautiful baby girl.
He was an actor.

The falcon let her stay at his home with the too small windows and the too thin walls.
He let her crawl into the nest when nightmares woke her from the couch.
He held her with those awful claws and she can’t recall if it even hurt.
He was a grave.

The falcon gave her his rage and his talons and her own crooked beak.
He showed her that birds who are small and easy to catch are devoured by birds like him.
He took away all her pretty little feathers that were still young and fluffy.
He was a father.

The chickadee no longer shrieks in the night when the handsy trees outside look like home.
She stops looking for the falcon.
She does not cry when they hand her the shovel to put frozen dirt on a wooden box.
She is not sorry for her loss.