Tavye Neese

If My Hand Trembles,
Let a Falcon Rest Upon It

Talons will steady my shake and sway.
If my tongue stutters, words trapped

like small bees, the raptor
will take flight, bring bloodied

backs of grouse for roasting
until my mouth is warmed,

made strong enough to say
the most brutal thing in a whisper

as soft as speckled feathers.
And if the bird does not startle from speech,

and if brown and gold wings do not spread,
then I am grateful for what does not lift,

what holds tighter, claws piercing skin.