Saturday, June 15, 2013

Doves --For Noreen


          I can't remember if these are "morning" doves, like
"doves at dawn," or if they're "mourning" doves--doves of grief.
With no computer or reference volume, I'm as dumb as a stump.
          Whatever they're called, the doves perch delicately on 
the razor wire and chain link that surround our small yard; this
wears a depressing cold war frown. The apartments leak vodka
and black market drugs looking strangely like the prison. Perhaps
both were built by the same pre-Reagan contractor.
          The doves are probably indifferent to political
 boundaries of fences, only concerned if they were to get caught
in a trigger-happy crossfire. For now, they seem as blase as tehy
whir and coo. The smaller one--a female I guess--plops down to 
stroll flirtatiously among the dead leaves, while the male sings
to her from the sharp wire.
         Since I don't know whether these doves are
"morning" or "mourning," I get to choose my terms. I go for
the sadder homonym, especially since I don't have any ravens
around to distract me.
        I lean against a leafless tree, my back to my fellow
prisoners. I can't see the other women this way, but I 
can feel them. They want to speak with me, but they 
sense the privacy of my "mourning dove" moment, and they leave
me alone. This unspoken courtesy, part of prison etiquette,
is a "given" here. So, I take my alloted space and sigh with
the doves, a gentle whipping cadence, the falling notes as graceful as grief.
          I notices that they don't seem to be 
doing anything. They're not even looking for food; they
just stare at each other and sing. What are they waiting for?
I wonder. Then, I realize that they may not be waiting, perhaps
this suspension of action is not waiting at all; perhaps
they are simply being.
         I watch the pale light color the scene lavender.
A mother-of-pearl luminescence radiates from the sun's veil.
Under my fingertips, the quiet tree bark is only slightly rough.
The air is warm, and I smell the first bond-breaking scents
of new roots stretching their sleepy arms, easing up from
the thawing earth.
         My cheeks are wet--not from shame or sadness--
but from a liquid union with this exquisite delicacy,
a suspiration filled with ineffable contradictions--the
the fragility of the doves stitched by the danger of the razor wire.
         I have no questions; I merely wait self-consciously.
Then I consider that, perhaps, like the doves, I am not waiting 
at all.
         From behind me, I hear the light step of a woman
approaching. My prescribed moment for reflection is over.
          I smell rain.  

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