Geraldine Connolly

At the First Gathering after the Pandemic

we look up from our wineglasses,
we look up notice the shadow of the shinned hawk
near orange blossoms hung from the swag of leaves
a table covered with green oilcloth spattered with hibiscus
and the baby on her knees on the deck
pushing a toy and making soft noises, our laughter
above platters of mezze warm in the sun, stripes
of sunlight and then shadow fall across the table
as we notice the dark mass hung from its claws
the round furred body and the tail swaying
as the hawk drags it above the fence post towards
our party, the stunned silence as we all stop
chattering and look up, and struggle to make
sense of it, the sharp thuds, fluttering wings,
the dead kitten hung from the hawk’s claw
that dark mass, impossible as grief
that comes out of nowhere on a sunny afternoon
among the laughter and bright balloons



Geraldine Connolly grew up in western Pennsylvania. She has published a chapbook and four poetry collections including Province of Fire and Aileron. She has taught at the Writers Center in Bethesda, Maryland, The Chautauqua Institution and the University of Arizona Poetry Center. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Maryland Arts Council, and Breadloaf Writers Conference and her work appears in many anthologies including Poetry 180: A Poem A Day for High School Students, A Constellation of Kisses and The Sonoran Desert: A Field Guide. She lives in Tucson, Arizona. Her website is