Hawk Cry High

We crossed the street, quietly,
to avoid disturbing the body
huddled under the tarp,
a dumpster and shopping cart
bookending his concrete bed,

when a high wailing sound
turned us back
to the mound,
a plaintive repeat
pouring out
in the rhythm
of the plains Indian:

low, low,
then hawk cry high,
hawk cry high,
repeating like a drum,
calling to the Great Spirit
to hear him in the night,
in his prayers or delirium,

this survivor of the holocaust,
resting on the unforgiving surface
of our alien city,
calling to his ancestors
and the passing angels,
to remind us
he was still alive
and remembered
his prayer songs.