December Kill

Black as a drone,
this hawk is pure horizon.
The fields tilt, he recalibrates
the evisceration, simplified
by the lone winter star
prising light under rocks
chasing scorpion shadows
under the dry stone fold.

The sheep all feel it.
A fear fluke makes them quiver,
stills their bleating.
Death drops quiet as lead,
straight as a pendulum slice
into the body of the lamb
spilling its ruby guts
as will become custom.

The shepherds return
gift-less, still singing the first
of many songs about the baby
born in the byre, the Easterners,
the peacock angel
they saw flaming in the skies
where now only a hawk hovers

patient and cruciform

Shortlisted in the 2014 Wells Festival Poetry Competition.