The Spanish word for bird, pajaro, is much more accurate. Is there any word in English that is less appropriate than bird, rhyming with turd, weighed down by its er sound, its muddy consonants? Bird sounds like something that would fall down from the sky, not flitter upwards. Pajaro, with its three quick, airy vowel sounds is a superior word. One’s lips must flutter just to say it.

Originally Published: March 16th, 2007

Jeffrey McDaniel is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Chapel of Inadvertent Joy (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013). Other books include The Endarkenment (Pittsburgh, 2008), The Splinter Factory (Manic D, 2002), The Forgiveness Parade (Manic D Press, 1998), and Alibi School (Manic D, 1995). His poems have...