Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Poem: "After Elisabeth Bletsoe’s “Birds from the Sherborne Missal” "

After Elisabeth Bletsoe’s “Birds from the Sherborne Missal”

Pigeon, identified as Rock Pigeon (Columba livia domestica)

In the liturgical city, in the agora, gospel and gregarious. The fleshy cere on the short slender beak protects the nostrils. Deepthroated chuckling. You drew me to the gate of the Marble Cemetery and kissed me. The drag queen, passing by, simpered, “Ooh, boys kissing.” Purple iridescence on the gray neck. Two black bars on the wing. Crop milk. Toasting s’mores over a wood fire in the garden wedged between two apartment buildings. Granivorous and frugivorous. Some eat trash. It was alleged that they have no gall bladder, which accounts for their reputation for sweetness, but they have gall. Aristotle knew that. Don’t forget. The Columba livia is kosher and korban. The parents of Jesus sacrificed a pair after his circumcision. Loss, a sign of the covenant. Domesticated for centuries, they still live in the urban wilds. Homers. Carriers. Release doves.

strong chest muscles
extending powerful wings—
a white book

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