Black Sugar <span style=by Elizabeth Robertson Laytin (excerpt)" width="600" />

Black Sugar by Elizabeth Robertson Laytin (excerpt)

The house where I live is deep in the woods. The driveway is overgrown with moss. A defiant mushroom has pushed up through the tar where the drive meets the street. How its roots wound their way under and up, I cannot imagine. It is ready to pick, or poison.

The flutter of wings startles me, and a red-tailed hawk lands on a branch of the tree to my left. I wait, wondering if he sees me. His chest is puffed forward, his head still, but his eyes blink lazily. I wait to see what he will do next. His wings are partly outstretched when he falls, dips, and rises to land on an evergreen to my right.

“Hi, Dad,” I say. There is a look of recognition as he winks, or perhaps that is what I see, not what happens. And then he is up, flying, the gold tail-feathers flashing in the sun.