The Love Helmet

The mosquitos came to greet us after World War II.
But the DDT didn’t kill the falcons outright. It just thinned
the shells of their eggs. They couldn’t support the weight,
and there weren’t any chicks hatching in the wild.
Enter the intrepid falconer who becomes the handler,
raises the male from birth, then holds it facedown
on foam. Another person pulls the legs apart,
still another massages with thumb and middle finger
to relieve him of his gentleman’s relish.
It’s a three man hand job, and it’s not without trauma.
But a man from Pullman thinks there must be
a subtler method. He says it’s difficult to act like
a falcon every day for three months until it
finally imprints. The man mimics the female chirp,
its love struck cluck. He rocks and bows his head
until he is enticed to the scrape. At last the tiercel
lands on him as he kneels, and it makes its deposit
into the love helmet, the fuck hat, the copulation cap,
the semen sombrero, the jism tam, the cum beret,
whatever you may call it. Damn! It really works.
The falcons rally, back from the brink of extinction,
thousands released with banded feet to take their
place on the bridges and steeples of New York City.
Say, there is a man climbing the Triborough Bridge
checking on them in their nesting boxes.
He becomes a target for their talons, but he remains
undaunted. He scoots higher, closer to ensure that men
who once intervened and interrupted
now will serve another species that’s determined.
Screw your red wheelbarrows, Mr. Williams.
So much really depends upon a healthy ejaculate.



Click here to listen to Tim Kahl reading/performing “The Love Helmet”



Tim Kahl is the author of Possessing Yourself (CW Books, 2009), The Century of Travel (CW Books, 2012) The String of Islands (Dink, 2015) and Omnishambles (Bald Trickster, 2019). His work has been published in many journals in the U.S and abroad. He is the editor of Clade Song and events coordinator for The Sacramento Poetry Alliance. He builds flutes and plays them as well as guitars, ukuleles, charangos, and cavaquinhos. He currently teaches at California State University, Sacramento.

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