By sinking one or another talon in my wrist
the hooded falcon tells me what to write.
When we are done scribbling she takes
roost on the headboard of my bed.
Next day I decipher her transmission,
profuse with slashes and cross-outs.

I, who ascending towards the sun
lost all feeling in my wingtips,
who swooped on prey that grew
monstrous in the course of each dive –
I gaze without pity upon humanity,
a species legendary for its craftiness…

With the bird teetering on my forearm
I pause to light the kettle, grind coffee.
These late-night sessions take their toll
in bleary eyes and stiffened joints
but no sooner do I have a steaming mug
beside me then I eagerly resume dictation.

They fitted a cage to resemble a palace,
tethered me through acts of treachery,
imposed a diet of high-protein pellets,
made flight a reward for docile behaviour,
servants deluded to think they’re master,
scriveners who sport the poet’s crisp laurel…

Such a relief to deposit the bird on its perch,
dab peroxide on the scratches, then dine
with knife and fork. Is that incessant wind
in my ears merely old man tinnitus?
I hear her voicing pride in former exploits
and she screeches into the teeth of the gale.

Douglas Smith, formerly a teacher of Anthropology at York University, is a homeopathic physician.and author of several books on alternative medicine. It is claimed (although Dissident Voice has no proof of this!) that Doug and his partner grow the best garlic in Haliburton County. Read other articles by Douglas.