Parabuteo unicinctus

Harris's hawk

M.E. Wakamatsu





You are dark brown

almost black like me.

Your shoulders,

the color of the red earth

I come from.

Scientists call you Harris’s Hawks,

Parabuteo unicinctus,

but I know you

as dusky angels

perched in my Ponderosa Pines.


Nene, Chiquito and Briana

my Chihuahua, Jack Russell

and Tortoiseshell Tabby

all know you’re here.

They smell your wildness.

They feel your gaze.

They do not run away.


Early morning walkers on Tumamoc

witness the thwack thwack

of powerful wings and

behold your glide through sweet

cantaloupe skies.


Little children in the wash behind my house

watch you chase your friends

through Palo Verde and Mesquite

thick with creamy pods and mistletoe.


Small mice confused scurry along moist sand.

Pack rats tremble in the brush.

Rabbits freeze, pretend to be invisible.

Mourning doves do not coo.


All understand balance and

the desert is thankful you are here.


In the early morning shadows,

I see you in the trees.

I know you hear Aurora’s music and

I am thankful you are here.




M.E. Wakamatsu was born in the border town of San Luis R.C. Sonora, Mexico. The daughter of a Mexican mother and Japanese father, she writes from the border between cultures, between patterns of discourse, between first and third worlds…