“Eagle Girl” by Claire McCabe
We inhale the scent of the stable
horse sweat, hay, leather,
incense linking my childhood
to my daughter’s.
She kisses Feather’s velvet nose
as she buckles the bridle.
The grey gelding shifts his feet,
accepts the weight of the saddle.
I hoist her up, then lead
the pair into sunshine.
We both exclaim at
the bald eagle overhead.
Here, miles from the bay,
the raptor soars above our woods,
graces our day
with majesty and awe.
Let’s name him, she trills.
He spirals higher, a pinpoint.
We can’t, I say. He’s not like Feather.
He’ll never wear a bridle or do our bidding.
The raptor vanishes into the blue swath of sky,
guarding his fragile freedom.
I’ll call him eagle, then. She pauses.
And please, just call me girl.
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Claire McCabe’s Artist Statement: This poem was inspired by mothering a daughter and our shared love of horses, eagles, and the need to be free.
Claire McCabe lives with three dogs, two cats, a life partner, and a sometimes home from college son. She teaches writing at the University of Delaware. Claire writes poetry with on–line and local writing groups, and loves every minute of it.