The wind is fitful now:
soot piles in the corners
of new buildings,
gulls stumble out of place
in ragged branches
to skim against a rise
of pond water.
The children watch, breathless
with the birds.
They feel an emanation
from this shuddering place.
This winter evening
the sky cracks with cardinal color
and we sit in cooing wonder
like dwarves at the Venetian court
must have done —
amazed at Tiepolo’s sunshot ceilings;
like us, they were fickle,
aware of smaller inconstancy.
But the dazzle above, enclosing
seems fit or made for this
fragment of belief.
I never longed for my virginity.
I heard it on the radio after the hurricane.
There, in the aftermath, was the voice of a man—
once the sweet, screwed-up boy whose hooded,
jessed spirit I tried to possess with the ruthlessness
I mistook for power. Here he was on NPR,
so gentle, so familiar with devastation,
his timbre woke the teenage falconer in me
who once saw his kindness as weakness,
saw a boy as an unfledged goshawk—
a creature to trap and be trapped with
in darkened mews. I knew the rules:
neither of us could sleep until the molting bird
grew ravenous enough to take the raw mouse
from my hand. Breaking the falcon
broke us both, left us scared
and less aware of love than fear.