Robert Cording

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.