I was tired of cleaning up after
the dove nesting up in my tree.
Its droppings kept coating the sidewalk.
I took that mess personally.
So taking my eight foot long poker,
a two by two piece of hard wood,
I thrust it high up in the branches,
spooking that damn dove but good.
Startled, it flew off. Its curses,
disguised well as cooing, decreed
that some day she’d see me below her
and try to drop some shit on me.
I chuckled --that thought was amusing--
then, looking up, what met my eyes,
but that dove’s nest high up in the branches.
I acted with haste --never wise.
I poked at the nest to destroy it;
two pokes and its pieces rained down.
When one of those pieces bounced off me,
I followed its fall to the ground.
A baby bird’s body so tiny
it could fit in the palm of my hand
was the piece that had bounced off my shoulder;
its fall was not what I had planned.
Its gray down was rising and falling,
eyes covered and closed, as in sleep.
While watching it die, I stood thinking.
(I am not the type who would weep.)
I thought, “I will bury its body
among the pruned branches that will
be picked up on this Wednesday morning
and dumped in the nearest landfill.”
While nestling it in the pruned branches,
I also thought, “This goes to show
that one should take care where he’s poking,
especially if one doesn’t know
what’s hidden by some frail structures,
what needs gentle handling, what may
be only an innocent wishing
that it could fly up and away.
I had to dismiss all such thinking;
there still were more branches to prune.
Yet, I know those thoughts will come back to me
The next time I hear a dove coo.