That day the most beautiful thing she saw was pigeons.
Neatly dressed in grey and silver stripes, or snuff brown,
like office workers, except the shocking ascot, the neck
oilslick green and purple, the finicky pink naked feet.

Walking barefoot in broken glass and crushed paper cups,
what are the pigeons learning? Assiduously searching through
the scattered trash of human lives, they startle Beatrice.
She's used to them flying by like windblown plastic bags.

Now she's fixed by one scavenger eye, coy,
shy, trash with consciousness. The bird cocks its head
sideways, feminine wile, a friend's attention. Suddenly

       she's standing in a city peopled by birds, their hub-bub
       conversation, and their wheeling flight toward home, the rock
       cliffs of skyscraper and church steeple, each cranny and nook
       they remember from when they nested there, rockdove
       high above the river in the granite palisades, long before
       convenient niche apartments were built for them by men.

:: Minnie Bruce Pratt, Walking Back Up Depot Street (1999)

No comments:

Post a Comment