Over Illinois’ midriff Canada geese in two magnetic lines
draw together like teeth in a zipper.
This red-tailed hawk slowly circling
while her eyes swivel in panoramic blinks
is evolution’s infant
synchronicity confuses into a similitude
with two hundred sandhill cranes arrowing slowly southward
to winter grounds, riding along a mile high film of bright air, echoing
each others’ otherworldly fluting through their cenozoic rattles, an earliest
the noiseless hawk spiraling intently hundreds of feet beneath remains
What human language, what liturgy
of behavior would register a similar trick of scale, such that
a syllable spoken in proto-Armenian might act like the eureka of
that erupted into
III. THE BIRDS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
are the birds of the New Testament — ravens, falcons, buzzards.
God’s rushing spirit stretching out
mimicking a hovering
dove. Concerning doves, Leviticus — making a cult
of the priesthood — is explicit. God craves a dove’s
sweet savor burnt on a fire.
Head pinched off, blood sprayed on the altarside.
As if its corpse were hyssop soaked in vinegar for sprinkling, for
quenching thirst. Carcass plucked clean, torn open
by its wings. Membrane of its chest punctured &
then offered up to the fire.
is “dove-like.” Obviously. But what screamer, unclean & carnivorous,
lolled in the sky when Abraham at ninety-nine
took to his cock in covenant
a knife & began then to peel like the softened rind of a fig
its skin, with that blade? What other name
does culture give to that nest-robbing