I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the housetop. Psalm 102
The pelican in scripture is unclean. It pukes dead fish onto the hatchlings, and it roosts alone, like Satan on the Tree of Life. Nobody told me. I liked pelicans. I liked owls, too. I used to lie awake and listen, wanting to become an owl, to fly, to see through darkness, turn my head, and look straight back behind me. I was happy, as kids go, but I did not belong in human form. Sparrows peck grain from fresh dung. In this world rich means filthy. Leopardi, in his high Romantic musings on the sparrow, does not say the poet is a shitbird, just that, singing by himself, he acts like one, and wishes he could feel more like one, unashamed to do so. Here, the preacher (burning in his bones with fever, puking half-digested fish, and hooting, sleepless in the ruins like the baleful dead) cries: O Lord, take me not away.