Hello posed dancer, ballerina bird. Hello bright eye
sickle beak—hello fisher and hello shadow cast over us
when you fly. Hello shade.
The conquistadors didn’t know what to do with you
when your wings unfolded longer than their sabers,
and Christopher Columbus couldn’t speak
your language but still heard his name
in the air between your feathers. Hello, neck
that curves like the river.
Raphael painted the Virgin Mary in ultramarine: holy
beyond the ocean blue, but your shawl is sensible
in its decency. Magdalenic. You carry crushed pearl and the teeth
of drowned Englishmen who saw your blade of a body
wade to their exhaustion and asked what angel is this?