The Lammergeier Daughter

That night, I opened your wardrobe and found

a trophy of vultures, their necks pierced


by hanger hooks. I saw at once

that you hunted everything I loved —


the griffon, the Himalayan, the lammergeier,

who haunted our home with wheeling cries.


I peeled off my skin then, and robed myself

as a bird bride. Veiled in morning mist


I married the sky. Of course, you aimed

at my heart, but as the bullet tore through me


I wrapped my talons around your skull,

lifted you high, and dropped you as a lamb


drops newborn from his mother

onto the snow-fleeced earth.


I landed beside you on the quilt.

And when the flesh-eaters had done their work,


it was I, your lammergeier daughter,

who devoured your bones — look, Father,


how they slide down my throat like rifles.

Bibliographical info

Pascale Petit’s “The Lammergeier Daughter” Copyright © 2023 by Pascale Petit. Source “The Lammergeier Daughter” from Poetry Foundation (February 2023),…, Reprinted by permission of the author.

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