Solomon Takes Bilqis Birding

by Aiya Sakr

Learning the language of birds is tracing the turn
of every tail feather, every back, sloping.

                           (lover		    I trace you
                           turn my back sloping
                           in the sun	listen)

and the ninety-fifth song of the northern mockingbird
another ballad, whistling.

                           (do mockingbirds blush 	          or
                           does she ripple when he tells her how
                           he wants to fuck her)

to learn that starlings have a semiotics with the air: 
to read wind shifts. The position of a partial cloud 
above the oaks at the park shapes
the sharpness of landing.

                           (to call it dancing to call it flight 	    to forget
                           every wing stroke a 		      gasp for higher air)

Watch that mute swan there in the middle of the lake. How her
back bends to look like you.

                           (tell me 	     beloved 
                           what it means to be a droplet pulled 
                           in her beak       how god
                           favors the chosen)

Aiya Sakr was born in the United States but grew up in Amman, Jordan, with Palestinian and Egyptian heritage. She is the author of Her Bones Catch the Sun (The Poet’s Haven, 2018). A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have appeared in Mizna, Nimrod, and elsewhere. She has a master’s degree in literature and writing from Utah State University. Currently, she’s completing an MFA in poetry at Purdue University, where she serves as Poetry Editor for Sycamore Review.