M A Griffiths

The Bataleur

She was returning to the gauntlet when
some dolt yee-hawed a horn. She slewed left, fetched
off course, alarmed, towards the misty fen.
I heard the sharp cries of the crowd, and stretched
my ungloved wrist out wide. She landed there
as softly as a stork re-sits its nest.
She gazed at me and I absorbed her stare.
She preened her wind-combed quills, then came to rest
sphinx-still, her eyes a blaze of feral gold.
The handler bustled up to break the charm.
He mentioned luck, unlocked her talon-hold,
and claimed the eagle from my unscathed arm.
Between her wingbeats, Nature spurned the rule
that beauty shows no mercy to a fool.