There is no god, and no-god visited me today in the form of a red-tailed hawk.
I said to the hawk, “Please forgive us for what we’ve done. We know not our ignorance.” Then I repeated it, but in first-person singular.
Rust-colored bars trailed down his chest like seismic waves recorded sideways.
Stingrays swam down the centers of lightest feathers on his back.
The shafts of his primaries were pencil leads.
His talons were crude and comical, like those a child would sculpt in art class, having never seen a hawk in real life.
His eyes were chocolate brown. Watching him blink was like watching two worlds appear and disappear.
When he scratched his neck, his lower beak dangled, loose and wobbling.
Over a period of about fifteen minutes, he let me slink right up to the low-slung branch where he was perched.
He did not fly away when I approached. He did a little jig on the branch, then turned to face me.
His chest was on full display, propped up by those two ridiculous Big Bird feet.
He did a hula move, fluffing his feathers against the cold. Now he was just showing off.
He said nothing, of course, but what I heard was: “This is what I am. Do not destroy me.”
Slowly, he opened his wings and flew away, carrying the day’s last light on his back.