(Pithecophaga jefferyi) After Pamana, the rare Philippine Eagle, was found dead from a bullet wound and decomposing on the forest floor of Mount Hamihuitan, conservationists got together and decided to send a pair of monkey-eating eagles away for breeding and safekeeping. Since June before the pandemic, those two have been in Singapore's Jurong Bird Park, separated by a screen so they can gradually become acclimated to each other. These endangered birds—Geothermica and Sambisig— have been paired with others before, but none have been successful. The bird named after a geothermal development corporation spends most of his time fussing over his new living quarters. On camera, Sambisig has been caught tossing bits of nesting material out of her way as if she isn't interested. Her name means something like one arm or one strength—a unity or coalition: which is somehow fitting when you think about how a creature with a six- to seven- foot wingspan could definitely do some damage without even trying. Their keepers say eagle love is slow to take, though books and internet videos also show such birds in mad, careening spiral when it clicks. Locked talon to talon instead of lip to lip, a pair of dark shuriken or throwing stars, eyes fixed on the other like a target. Raptor, rapture, rapt: all come from a common root meaning ravisher and abductor, carried away in ecstatic trance. Sometimes not even the ground at which they rush breaks their fall.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) was recently appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020-2022). She is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, September 2020). She is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015; she also teaches classes at The Muse Writers’ Center in Norfolk. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.