Kovi Konowiecki The Hawks Come Up Before the Sun

The desert valley where the fog splits the ridge:
above the hidden hawks fly,
and the people,
Below. It reminds man that unconditional access
to the world is not granted; the pearl end of the skies
unreachable.
But sometimes the sun jars through and gives glory to the hawks.
Fathers point fingers at the dazzling sky-dwellers
as if they were as rare as stars.
Trailers and truckloads of fathers and sons come to cherish
the life of birds—see them float on the whims of the
wind,
play through the tips of trees and chisel the San Jacintos.
These are simple, beautiful things
that can stop the earth-delving jaunt of man.
Glory to the hawks and their awing ways,
moderate,
and high.

“The following photographs were taken between 2016 and 2018 in the western side of the California desert. The right to capture the subjects in many of these photographs was given in exchange for a pack of cigarettes or a liter of soda from the local Country Mart liquor store. During those years, I was introduced to things that were altogether unfamiliar to me: bible study, fruit orchards, arsonists, stories of abandoned twin brothers. I became close to those who have come to be known in those parts as the “black eyes”. I constantly asked myself what drew me back to that place. Perhaps it was the geography—the feeling of vast openness after all my city years. Or maybe it was the people that seem to care about nothing except for what is directly in front of them—the ability to fit every serious thing into so much less. Or maybe it was the conversation between the people and the land—how they spoke to each other about freedom and hope. It is a language that I waited too late in life to learn.”