picture the nigerian priest.
picture his vestments, red—his long fingers, like branches of a sycamore
telling his story. now picture his father he said,
the hunter. deep in the wood,
feet in dilapidated boots
crushing dry brush—
just missing the hidden nest. picture
the hunter—a human scaffold—
run-walking the eggs
to his hens’ coop—
picture 21 days later—hearing the peal
of the beaks cracking shell—the fledgling
chicks sipping their first taste of unforgiving air.
picture 15 days later—the Nigerian
hunter taking matters
in his rough-hewn hands.
the priest son on his altar, shows us—
his father, scooping up the one bird,
hoisting it high before the daybreak sun.
picture the bird unconfusing itself—
crying its hawk cry—clawing
at the same unforgiving air
for its first flight—
for its sibling chickens left behind.