The California Condor


By Timothy E.G. Bartel


The way of dodos was their way,       improbable birds

Fated to fall from       Darwin’s leaf-stripped tree.

But man, it turned out,       had wings within him:

With care he captured       each great vulture, made

A sanctuary       for their slow healing.       

He stitched a likeness       of a condor’s form

To feed the mother-       deprived nestling, to remind it

What sort of being       it could still become.


Such rescue is what       church can be:

In rooms lined       with likenesses, we

Succor a deep and       endangered wingspan,

Discover and clean       forgotten feathers    

Tangled in the dark       flesh of every chest.

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