by Summer Wright
!:Pigeon with a tumor on his left foot on Fifth Ave. limps
toward crumbs tossed from deep translucent bag. Eats food
donated by a man with a shopping cart, a more abrupt vision of dearth
and dirtiness than me. Still flies fine: city birds, however, prefer to walk.
^:Young girl, green undercut, tosses crumbs. Ecstatic bullhorns peeking
from the bus, coupled with a silent-shout smile, protruding tongue.
She sees the pigeons boomeranging around the bustle, pecking
into crevices. Marvels at her effect upon their lives. I marvel at her.
&:My one love leans on the smile I direct to strangers.
Unable to beckon even breadcrumbs, she turns in for the night.
#:Sparrows like static TV in Market Square. I eat food donated to me by
a woman with angel wings from Bluebird Kitchen and donate them the crumbs
as pigeons flock in and in. I toss to the outer ones, feeding timidity,
drop pieces on my laces until I am overwhelmed by the swarm. After counting
ten, realize I’ve an audience of hundreds. I laugh like the ebullient god of sun beams.
≠:Daily migration. Bus is packed in the morning. Daytime building
windows bludgeon bewildered sparrows. Near-hollow bus on the way home
at night. Everyone knows where I’m walking and what I mean, and
they choose ignorance, distance from the belly of the bridge.
%:People like sparrows like static channels—but beautiful up close.
Viewed as personal, every window-bludgeoned wing is a tragedy.
≈:I am as afraid of the riverside geese as they are of me, as we all are
of the volatile weather. I am alone past midnight and a statue’s shadow
makes me call “Hello?” softly. Geese watch my walk silently (“Hello?”)
until we all emerge from the interaction firmly and fully unharmed.
In caution and hostility we understand each other.
This poem originally appeared in Volume 7 Issue 2 of Life Matters Journal.
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