Today's poem is by Nicole Cuddeback

Holy Spirit

Today I saw the Holy Spirit fly
down the street, its black breast complicated
with the pink-green-indigo iridescence

of polluted run-off, beautiful, despite.
It made me think of other pigeons
Iíve seen stroll through doors of betting halls

or dead ones spread near curbs like open fans
matted with the carpenterís wood trash,
cigarettes and still other pigeons

gone so long they simply look like dirt
that the street sweepers mix imperfectly
and suck away. The vision

helped me see thereís so little difference
between doves and pigeons that itís crazy
to distinguish—though pigeons might be plumper—

mostly just a matter of color.
Why favor white when the dark down shimmers?
The painters opted for the easy symbol

when they painted pigeons white as doves
to tuck into their Trinityís: a sort
of napkin tied beneath Godís chin, pointed

at a slumped Christís head below. That ghost-bird
holding the halo on was meant to be
a pigeon. How many other ways are there

to say it: doves are not interested in us.
Why prize them when pigeons are everywhere?
Why not read their nearness as luck.

To think of all the times I cursed them,
their screeching children plumed like worn-out brushes,
falling often from our tilted ledges,

the older ones that limp on mangled feet,
those inscrutable eyes like copper snaps.
Wings of storm or snow-on-clay

around the heartsí visible vibration,
the love they make all summer. Teeming
usual blessings, forever in the way.

Copyright © 2006 Nicole Cuddeback All rights reserved
from The American Poetry Journal
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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