The Band-Tailed Pigeons

You called ring-tailed doves are merely average.

It’s true their feathers gloss liquid in sun.

The appearance of a necklace adds

luxury as first one, then two,

then thirteen come to eat the seed you throw

out on our moss driveway. One evening,

through your telescope, you photographed said dove

at the top of the farthest fir tree

on the acre. Look, you said. I believed

the circle of lens, the inside story.

I believed because I was gullible,

hungry for those whose rank and file it is

to perform the will of their leader.











The Complete Story
If you would know the whole,
come sup with the Shikkar,
that drunkard who listens
while pouring a white or red
into an endless cup.
We were told he fell from a tree.
Rather, he was playing
with his twin brother
who tripped him. Sprawled
on tiles in the vestibule
he told his father
my arm is broken.
It is not broken, his father said.
A bone transplant required,
an infection undergone,
a trip to Caracas. The order
doesn’t matter so much
as the fact that he did not fall
from a tree. 
Each relative must re-learn
gravity anew,
fill their thoughts with a boy
who suffered for a year
due to a filthy needle
and a father who did not believe.
If you would be satisfied
to forgive his Latin rages,
imagine a gangrene of the mind—
rage equal to that of the bull
when it charges the matador
who holds a carmine rag
and goads
the inevitable climax
from a bit of straw and a knife.


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