Pigeon by Andrew Bell


I was walking to the back door. She was sitting there.

A cold easterly was lifting the feathers on a drooping
wing. It seemed to be broken.

I squatted beside her on the edge of the terrace.
She didn’t move. I watched as any animosity
was quickly dispelled by a wave of compassion

No clapping of wings, no cooing, no canoodling now.
Just a gentle composure, a quiet, almost matronly
integrity.

I began to speak. To talk about winter. The flooding
that had lifted the drain. And the cold. About being
vulnerable. And how fearlessness can sometimes
intervene when things go badly wrong.

She looked towards me. Then I knew that her world
was untouched by my kind of fear. And I spoke about
how that fear was so often quickened by my kind
of thinking. And what it was like to be earthbound, always
thinking about what was to come next.

And I wondered how it was with her. Whether she sensed
that her end might be coming.
Whether to intervene. Whether it would be my hands
that would hasten her ending. Or something else.

With that quiet, serene dignity, she could have been a
saint.

Motionless, she remained untouched by all notions
of loss or remorse, all those sentences implanted
in this higher language.

Consoled by this thought, I quietly moved away,
as dusk gave way to night.

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