Peregrine Falcon, New York City
On the 65th floor where he wrote
Advertising copy, joking about
The erotic thrall of words that had
No purpose other than to make
Far too many buy far too much,
He stood one afternoon face to face
With a falcon that veered on the blade
Of its wings and plummeted, then
Swerved to a halt, wings hovering.
An office of computers clicked
Behind him. Below, the silence
Of the miniature lunch time crowds
And toy-like taxis drifting without
Resolve to the will of others.
This bird’s been brought in, he thought,
To clean up the city’s dirty problems
Of too many pigeons. It’s a hired beak.
Still he remained at the tinted glass
Windows, watching as the falcon
Gave with such purpose its self
To the air that carried it, its sheer falls
Breaking the mirrored self-reflections
Of glass office towers. He chided
Himself: this is how the gods come
To deliver a message or a taunt,
And, for a moment, the falcon
Seemed to wait for his response,
The air articulate with a kind of
Wonder and terror. Then it was gone.
He waited at the glass until he felt
The diminishment of whatever
Had unsettled him. And though
The thin edge of the falcon’s wings
Had opened the slightest fissure in him
And he’d wandered far in thought,
He already felt himself turning back
To words for an ad, the falcon’s power
Surely a fit emblem for something.
“Peregrine Falcon, New York City” is from Common Life (CavanKerry Press, 2006) and first appeared in the anthology, Urban Nature (Milkweed Editions, 2000), edited by Laure Anne Bosselaer.