Sharon Corcoran

There’s a moment, when I walkout of full sun into shade, that I’m utterlyblinded. Then, after crossing a boundaryknown only to eyes, the visible worldreturns. Walking at dawnin the mountain’s shadow,the sun brightensthe west first.I walk from northto south, only listening:the slap of my shoesin the dust, crunchof gravel, nosesucking air, sighingexhale, magpie’sdistant chatter,a jet plane’s roarfar above,the tentative barkof a neighbor’s dog— and suddenly find I’m no longer walkingin shadow but in light.The sun engulfed me unawares.Not eyes, but consciousnessblinded.
Encounter The red plastic dish, perforatedwith beak-sized holes, decoratedwith yellow petals feigning flowers,dangles from my hand. In it,sweetened water. As I carry ittoward the stand where it will hang,some force, invisible at firstbut fierce—a delicate windagainst my hand, perhaps—stops me. I look downand a small green body hovers,her beak at the petaled opening,inches from my hand, my heart.Her fearlessness and minute furyovercome me. Every beam in meis focused on this—the humbling honorbestowed, being allowed to waitupon this tiny god.
The Hawk's Practice Early morning, a single Swainson’s hawkperches on a naked branchat the top of a cottonwood tree.I have seen him with mate and offspring.But this moment he’s alone,gazing across the valley, towarddistant clouded peaks. I walk dutifully, but seeing himreminds me there is also joyin walking, reminds me ofSuzuki Roshi’s frog on a lily pad.Hawk teaches from his perch:just be, just watch, waitfor the mate to return, or not return.A feather may drop; this treeremains and livesamong dead branches. Sharon Corcoran is a native of St. Louis now living in southern Colorado. At Washington University in St. Louis she studied psychology and linguistics as an undergraduate, and completed an MFA degree in writing there. She has worked in the arts and in a university setting, and as an editor and book indexer. She also translated (from French) the writings of North African explorer Isabelle Eberhardt in the works In the Shadow of Islam and Prisoner of Dunes published by Peter Owen Ltd., London. Before moving to Colorado, she was a lay Dharma teacher under Master Jiru at Mid-America Buddhist Association, a Chan dharma center in Missouri. Her poems have appeared in Kansas Quarterly, River Styx, and Canary, among other journals.