I would pack the hawk’s feather we once found,

washed and shined and ready for soaring


in the wind from San Francisco Bay,

near where we sunbathed and the armed forces


expedition landed suddenly—practice maneuvers.

I would pack practice maneuvers for negotiating


the forest of pens, the broken stubs of pencils

behind the ears of elderly men who won’t calm;


won’t sit or rise but remain pressing their thumbs

in their ears keeping out the wandering words


of refugees. From the academy I would pack

the stones that were in her pockets when she drowned,


weighted down under the Christmas tree branches

baubled with angel dust. I would pack a bit of ice


in a baggy zip-locked for tear gas. For the tears

of the child who didn’t make it. I would pack the words


to ask why we don’t want to save each other.

I would pack the hawk’s feather.