“Portrait of Ornithologist as Short-Eared Owl”
—after Aviary (Short-Eared Owl/special concern), a c-print by Sara Angelucci, 2013
Trussed upon the posing stand, he eyes
the photographer from behind a mask of feathers.
You cannot be certain of their color,
but the human shape of his eyes suggests
they are neither pale yellow nor sulphur—
amber, perhaps, or a dull, plain green.
If it were up to him, he would record the color
before plucking them from the specimen.
Also, he’d explore the oddity of the bare pate
with his sharpest scalpel.
It’s possible his own proclivities prevent him
from trusting the photographer.
Or maybe it’s because he cannot move
his head; cannot clap
his downward pointing beak at you;
cannot display the talons
he wants you to know
are there, just out of view.