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"Poetry is the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." Leonard Cohen

Thursday, November 27, 2014


She found it in the tall grass beside the school,
the place they were using as a dormitory
for the summer
Southern Italy swelters kiln-hot July and August
and the baby bird had been baking to death
She estimated for a long time --
But there were many feral cats in the area so
it couldn't have been that long
Or it would have been scarfed for sure

She made a nest of found feathers, grass, and yarn
in an old ice-cream box
And settled the fledgling on her window-sill near a
fan, behind some chicken wire, found also
Then searched out turtle dove feeding habits on-line
It was going to be labour intensive but she really
had the time so decided to go for it

How could she have known that caring for a
baby bird would make her this attached
She carried it with her everywhere, tucked
inside a large pocket next to her heart
It needed to be kept warm and it was the
only thing she could think to do
Besides it needed almost constant food and
water, so she carried eyedroppers
Of both with her ,and kept them, and it, replenished

She was amazed at how quickly the dove
grew strong
He began purring, the way adult doves tend to,
right next to her
One day she decided to take him to a vet, to
see about his health
And maybe about releasing him, although she
really couldn't imagine life without her
feathered child

The vet was impressed with her bird, said it
was probably ready to go right now
Gave her instructions for letting it fly on
a tether until its wings were stronger
She tried to be happy, but felt her heart break,
just a little
Nevertheless, she started helping the bird exercise

In no time, he was straining against the tether,
pulling hard
She began running up a hill behind the dorm,
with the bird, made the tether a bit longer
could see how strong it was growing
When it came back to land, it perched on her
shoulder now, took food from her hand
Slept snugged near her head on her pillow

One morning two adult doves were cooing in
trees above them
While she ate breakfast and her bird sucked
down water and some mealy worms
It fascinated her still, that it sucked water but
the vet assured her it was normal for a dove
She watched it tilt its head, looking for the
adults and finally, spotting them
Her dove cooed  and she thought it was
a sound he'd never made before
The adults swooped lower finally landing nearer

In moments, another small dove joined them
And her dove began bobbing and cooing wildly
The adults purred softly but kept their distance
The small dove with them shifted from foot to foot
Bobbing its head, in what looked like a shy move
Her dove fluttered its wings and stamped its feet
As if dancing along in front of her; she, however
Might as well have disappeared, for her dove
Knew only the shy, beautiful female before him.

It was time, she knew it; without pausing to think
She undid the tether, stroked the dove's tail feathers
Whispered to it some nonsense words about freedom
Then backed away to watch it go...
Without a backward glance, her dove that was not hers
joined the other small dove and they rubbed heads
Before flying up into the sky; she smiled, swallowed tears
Remembered the vet's  words - release was the goal.


  1. This is beautiful and I love it. Please keep writing and seeing what others cannot see.

  2. Oh thanks - I'm taking part in Poetic Asides November challenge to write a poem-a-day (their editor, Robert Brewer, puts prompts up every day in November, and again in April, as part of a contest - April's to win a sort of Poet Laureate of the Poetic Asides "street" for the year, and November's to get a chapbook published of the best 10 - 15 poems from any one poet.I've been doing it since 2008 and never even come close, but - it's good I do it...this prompt was "release")


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