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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Urban Dove

I was standing in the kitchen cooking lunch at the stove, looking out the window at my terrace. Two pigeons came and landed down next to a roti.

I don't know why, it irritates us, but our neighbors throw rotis out that land on our terrace. We live on the first floor (second floor to Americans, but the ground floor is a parking garage, so lowest floor) of an apartment tower. Only the first floor has large terraces, all the above floors have smaller balconies overlooking ours, and they drop things down every single day. Some of it is innocent and I get it-- cloths pins that slipped from a finger, laundry that the wind blew off the line. But then there's things like rotis that is just why??

Anyway, two pigeons were attracted to the abandoned roti and landed on my balcony. Through the glass door overlooking the terrace my daughter spied them. "Look Mommy! Birds! Oh, their necks are BLUE!" she marveled.

I looked at their necks, seeing how they have irridescent feathers much like the beloved peacocks that are the national birds of India. But these aren't peacocks, they're pigeons.

And suddenly I was checking to make sure the food wouldn't burn and running to get something to write with...

Photo by kalpesh patel on Unsplash

If he weren't so common
We'd marvel at his turquoise iridescence
Now purple! Now blue! Now green!
Light dancing over his plumed collar
And his soft gray cassock
Subtle and rich at once darkening into
The tools of aviation
If a pair chose our balcony to house their
Cherished new generation
We would watch with quiet awe and feel blessed
We'd hear their cries of trilling coos
And praise the gentleness of doves
But he is common
So we cry, rat with wings!
Nuisance! Pest!
We install spikes so he has no place to rest
Cursing his beauty
And wondering why the world is so ugly
The more abundant the beauty the Lord graces
The world the less we see
The problem is not that the world is ugly
But the myth that value springs from scarcity
If the city pigeon went the way of his cousin
The passenger
Our descendants would wail they wished they'd lived
At a time they were so common as to be despised

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