Birds Of A Feather

By and for Bird-People

To Fly

| 1 Comment

The peregrine
is trying to fly

Wings flap in vain
up and down and up
to catch the wind, but
yellow talons remain curled about a borrowed perch
because although one wing stretches out
whole, unmarred
the other ends in a clump of feathers
cut off far too short
useless half a wing.

So even though she reaches for the sky
Sharp eyes staring wild to wind and sun and clouds
She doesn’t leap forward into air
– she seems to know she’s bound to earth

It’s no wonder she refuses my offering
limp clump of soft bone and yellow down
dead before it left the egg.
She remembers flight
and freedom
soaring the thermals, silent skyshadow
dark eyes catching every tiny motion far below
wings folding, curved beak aiming down
torpedo aimed unerring for the target
space roaring, screaming in her ears
280 miles per hour straight down…
and talons wrap around the prey
warm and newly killed and hers.

Then the sun pushes aside the clouds
and the crisscross of wire mesh
imprisons us both in shadow
once more.

One Comment

  1. Oh wow. This is tragic, and powerful.

    There is a great horned owl at the sanctuary where I volunteered, with one damaged wing. He will never fly again, it’s broken and healed in a terrible way. They call him “Wrongway”, named for Wrong Way Corrigan, the aviator… I always thought it was not a very respectful name, but I never learned his real one.

    He was not exactly the same as this falcon. He did try to fly… not often, but, sometimes when he was sitting on the glove, he would pull off and away from you and he would end up hanging from the leash, upside down. All the birds did that, they can’t fly when they’re on a leash so they always would end up upside down if they try to escape. But, it was particularly bad, because most of the birds can keep their selves a little off the ground in that awkward position, but he was just flapping in the dust.

    But, if you tried to help him, he was still wild, and still trying to escape. He never gave up trying to fly. It’s sad in some way, but also beautiful, that he did not lose that spirit… the believing that it is possible to fly.

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