A pigeon toed its way over to me,
Orange feet caught in a twisty mess of thread
That needed human fingers to untangle
What the bird’s beak couldn’t snip away.
I wanted to swoop it up and cup
Its plushy breast in my weathering hands,
Using one to grasp, the other to save,
And unravel it to flights of greater feathered freedom—
New heights than what’s been stolen from it by a shackling string.
Like a slave promised liberty by its master,
It peaked up at me from beneath the bench
On which I sat, faking rhyme to pass the time.
It cocked its head from left to right, up
And down in sympathy-seeking blinks
And Jerks of the neck, looking,
Leaving me feeling helpless as it sought a savior out,
Pecking at my conscience like it would the trash that’s trapped it.
I almost bent down, but it flew away too soon,
Flapping the air with stuttering wings, unsteadied in its trajectory
As though panicked by a shortness of breath or the sudden loss
Of a heartbeat or by paralysis of the limbs and other such wordless sufferings.
It beat the air in a claustrophobic fit for more space
To stretch itself out in the mixed metaphors of my mind like
Ever-expansive sails, setting themselves wide over an old, exquisite sea,
As it streamlines the sky above, claws locked flat against its chest,
Perched in the shadow of its winged body as though tires
Retreated into some tucked away compartment of a plane.
And across the wet, sweeping-blue scenery
It could have traveled, were it free,
Some thousands of its distant-cousined species sink
In the mucky sheath of an off-shore leaked refinery,
Calling for Noah and his arc in cawful cries from the mire,
Searching for some clarion sign of that mythic dove
That’s prophesied to carry the arch of a new dawn
As the sunny start to a suddenly remembered covenant,
A peace offer hanging like an olive branch from its sacred bill.