The Pigeons

The pigeons fly from wire
to grass and back, and when the hawk
appears they flock
into a wheel that turns around
their portion of the sky before
coming down again to peck the ground
for what they alone
know to be there. They’re mostly as grey
as the people
who won’t go away from the park
at the bridge near the library,
who sleep in the last corner
the city offers. But some
have a colour to distinguish them;
the brown or speckled ones
we recognize enough to give
a name to. Seen in isolation, they grow
a personality. We watch for them,
begin to call them Rock Doves,
give them a history
all the way back to the cliffs
on another continent, and make up
stories of how they reached us, even try
to enter their minds
that bob back and forth, between
passing the time
and survival.

David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in England, and spent several years in Vienna, before moving to Phoenix in 1978. He pursued his visual art and had several shows, as well as writing and publishing his poetry in magazines and collections, the latest of which is The Devil’s Sonata from FutureCycle Press. Although he became ever more interested in the desert and its wildlife, the shadow side of Vienna emerges in his fiction and The Taste of Fog, which was published by Rain Mountain Press.

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