“First Word” is a vivid, exhilarating piece that uses the bird as a metaphor for women who are misunderstood as solely gentle or well-behaved and then break free to reveal their strength and fire. The choir begins quietly and in unison, alternating between singing sounds, syllables, and full text. The voices gradually expand and then contract in spacing. The bird is caged, stuck. The piece steadily builds in tempo as the bird starts to run and then picks up off the ground. In the final section of the piece, the voice parts split into divisi and the music grows in complexity. The bird is in flight; the bird has escaped. Recommended for collegiate ensembles and professional groups.