All animals are equal,
but some animals are
more equal than others.
— George Orwell
I guess I am the lowly spokesbird
that can reveal anything
there is to know about our jungle,
no spin, no hyperbole.
The common kestrels are everywhere
to gather information, list
names, ages, locations, body marks,
tattoos, scars of self-harm.
We do follow our aging leader—
our work begins at noon,
when that crazy hawk circles above
to spot its new target.
The buzzard follows to silence
the clamorous ones—
parrots, mynas, lories, cockatoos
all squeaking preydom.
In the chaotic kingdom of birds,
we are a squad, but each
has its own special slaying method—
that osprey drowns its kill.
The falcon in daylight chicknaps—
with or without a mask,
it does its quiet job quickly, leaving
no trace, not a drop of blood.
For the quota, that merciless besra
slaughters even saints—
doves, pigeons, bleeding-hearts
raising olive branches.
The scimitar talons of the kite gash
flycatchers, babblers, whistlers—
the dregs of avianity.
And that harrier handles the crafty—
swallows, swifts, sparrows
skilled in acrobatic flying, known for
escaping from the claws.
The baza, among the old beoble,
is an invading foreigner—
scaring pipits, buntings, bulbuls,
It is getting dark, the turn of the owl
to knock, snare, slash—
cuckoos, startlings, nuthatches guard
their crowded nests.
Tomorrow, the day of purple paper
flowers, vigil candles,
wake prayers, sad songs, black parades,
the vultures will wait.
I am a crow paid to be their lookout,
the eye of the feared eagle
gorging live hearts, livers, intestines
on its throne, evil, inaviane.