I tried to murder Tippi Hedren in Bodega Bay. 

In Assisi, I perched upon the shoulder of Francesco.

I was a nightjar, I was a grackle

An iridescent rock dove, I generated wingtip vortices

where I dwelled within the Apple. 

Contrafactual, I, “Bird,” I ditch the sheets and blow.

One of me in your hand is worth two in your bush,

Slay my sister and me with one rock.


I am a fish-eating sea-hawk with a cosmopolitan range

I am the twelve-wired bird of paradise.     

I am the thrice cock.

I am Angry Bird, but not Foghorn Leghorn.

I am a bird of prey, locate me at the sky-hole perimeter.

I am a peregrine falcon from 55 Water Street.

Pliny the Elder called me Ossifraga or "bone breaker."

I am Birdbrain who runs the world, the bald,

puff-chest of the national crime family.


I am the eagle that carries a dove in its mouth.

I am the dove of the Holy Spirit.

I am the cardinal of the Holy Spirit.

I am the wheeling falcon Apollo dispatched.

I feast with flocks of swiftlets and swallows.


Did our power to fly evolve from the ground up?

Did our power emerge from wing-assisted running?

Or was it arboreal and downward?

We go back to the Mezozoic Era.

We had gastroliths and air sacs in our bones. 

Thanks to protein sequenators,

we know the Coelurosaurus

was a thing with feathers.

We slept with our heads tucked for warmth.


I fly in V formation.

At angles of attack my lift exceeds my drag.

When I fight in the basement, the men tie a shank to my beak.

My thighs and breasts are sumptuous. 

As a raven in the Tower of London,

I pecked clean the eye-sockets of Ann Boleyn.


I am a 60’s “girl.”

I swan in a bevy and mate for life.                                  

I am neither Peking Duck nor the Christmas Goose,

neither Leda nor the brute bird.                                                          


I am a thousand white Origami cranes for healing. 


The Rambam says never take the eggs of the mother bird

before sending her away.

The Rambam says this is for the mercy on the mother bird.

The Ramban says it is done to perfect mercy.

My nest is translucent and made of hardened saliva.

My young are feeding themselves. 


Soon I can stop defending my territories.

The river is moving. I must be flying.

The falconer is calling but what’s it saying?

            I can’t quite make it out.

 * This poem first appeared in Periphery, (2018), published by Harvard Univesity’s Center for the Study of World Religions