"You said, the night we met, that I was only capable of seeing one side of things. I've thought about that. I understand attachments between mothers and their children. But if you're right, if I have no choice here but to be a bird of prey, tearing flesh to keep my own alive, it's because I understand attachments. That's the kind of hawk I am—I've lost my other wing."

These lines come from the letter that Annawake sends to Jax after their conversation in Tucson. This letter is an important to furthering the plot; it indicates how seriously Annawake is pursuing Turtle's case. The letter also helps to develop Annawake's character. By telling her brother Gabriel's story, Annawake reveals to the reader her motivation behind going to law school and working on behalf of her people. This passage explicitly connects Taylor's attachment to her daughter with Annawake's attachment to her brother. Indeed, both women are motivated by these respective attachments. We see that their characters are actually very much alike.

The image of Annawake as a bird of prey is an interesting metaphor, because it relates to a recurring motif in the book that has to do with nature's cycles and systems. This passage suggests that Annawake should not be blamed for her predatory habits. She is acting in the same way any wounded animal would, desperately trying to protect her own kin. This motif suggests that people cannot always act out of compassion alone. Oftentimes survival demands that human beings hurt others for the sake of protecting their own.