that gathered there along his arms,
upon the invitation of a slender limb.
And not oblivious to human violence
perhaps needed rest or needed to offer
the succor of presence, despite the
stiff collar of their feathers, despite
each one being no less the children
of a father who claimed an upper realm.

It is not true they pecked his eyes. Nor
did they consider his wounds
their own. They were neither irreverent
nor quiet. They spoke in the tongues
they knew. They cawed full voiced
and would have released him from his
bindings had their beaks held the power
and had there been time in that place.

Like them, I have sought to comfort and
so be comforted. Like them
I have seen the failure of miracles when
they were most needed. Like Him, I
have called upon those so unlike myself
when my father failed to answer.

Francis, Vievee. Forest Primeval: Poems. United States, TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2016.