Today's poem is by Sandra Meek

Columba livia

The year we understood city by feral, honeysuckle
smothered so much of spring: the wings' soft slapping, like laundered sheets
flapping on lines tightroping alleys, and from the ledge,
from the orange bead of an eye, the park statue
a steel seed; invisible the little bowls of poison
city elders gift them for fouling chalky white the founding
father bronzed to horse in
heroic gesture, hooves paused midair
corroding. When the seventeenth century darkened
with lost cousins, passengers the sky descending
into ripening corn three days transformed
to sweet meat, they ate all winter, the settlers. Each bullet an eye
closing. A field
clear-cut with light. That was history. Then
the farms moved inland until the frontier was desert
skewered with outsized windmills, spinning tridents
scissoring errant wings. Back home, what might be called country,
we call them doves: rock
to distinguish from mourning. Cities
are identical and distant, linked by feral who settle concrete cliffs
in treeless streets. No two birds marked
the same, feral like snowflake, a single destination
for drift, for all those shifting continental plates, wing feathers mapped
cinnamon and brick and smoke-gray. Only the collar
in common, translucent wine stain
of amethyst and emerald, a strip of sunset forest still glossing
the ashen city air.

Copyright © 2007 Sandra Meek All rights reserved
from the Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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