Upon my friend encountering his first raptor

Like any discerning peregrine
Your handsome hooded friend bore well away from the black-holes of carrion-crows
Your condor sailed not on currents of air
rather coursed on sheets woven liquid of light

of spotless electricity

that neither skip nor jitter nor skew nor yaw
the route that he took to you, my friend,
While his greedy friends laughed at the unknowns of their universe
your derided condor trusted, like any bat,
the electrical storm grape-shot into his eyes
the noise the sound the fury the signal that led only to you
Ever onward his descent to you
his only chore: stoop to conquer
to show that he has your back after all
held in his salmon-spearing claws
as you cross his unwelcoming world
He, your safe harbor across his death of a valley
you, safe to suck from saguaro
the sugared-water from its porcupine mouth
Like any prison-raptor
like any Alcatraz swallow
like any virgin in his novice prison cell
he ever-alert,
so that when condor alights, all is well
Sidelong at you
acknowledgement as tribute paid
ack as respect
ack as the best to hope for
ack as high praise from a killer
gutting bears
severing elk,
galling moose
eviscerating wild boar
sideslipping casually away
w boas
w pythons
grappled to his underbelly
resignation in their eyes
Condor, as sniffer of souls
thousands of red-blooded killers over thousands of millennia
thousands of generations
of road killers
of mad killers
he chose you next to alight
to appoint for your coming ordeal
Among the killers he sees in every mote of dust
among the clumsy crows of your days
deliberate in their, our, evasions
their deceptive myriad tippings-of-wings
he chose for you the hunting life
He gifted you the strife
to claw, like heart from rattlesnake,
truths to tap like fragile triangles
across valleys
across shadows
across canyons of disbelief
hope like livers extracted from every idle crow
hope like venom tapped
Now, my friend, is up to you
to spear-twist false gospels from the carrion souls of clumsy crows
mile after mile above the clucking choir of concernèd magpies
You, condor
shall flush mere hawks from their hidings
lying wasps from their dissolute hives
careen thee through clans of clumsy crows
towards the hasty, caring gift,
the sharing of fear.

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