Eagle Love

(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.
   
 

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