Written Category 2nd Place: Winter of the Doves

“I found the doves and I share / the beetle bright gaze / of a certain searching phrase.”

I stood washing up
and waiting for snow.
Outside, in the little apple tree
that bows under
the whole weight of the world’s wind,
there were seven doves,
six quarrelling sparrows,
five huddled blackbirds,
four energetic blue tits,
three fat pigeons,
two small robins
and a wren,
but not a partridge in sight.

All the world’s bounty
and an aviary had formed
in a leafless, fruitful tree.
Bickering birds were its baubles,
the adornment that
wet leaves add to a smooth pavement.
I dropped a plate.
A crow somewhere cried.

Still, sometimes, I look to the tree
and wonder where they went,
the domestic scene
of wildlife in conference,
roosting in the wilds
of a student’s rented garden.

Without the barest hint of yield,
I’ve thrown enough seeds
to strew a wheat field,
steady in my conviction
that the avian convention
is just a moment
from beginning again.

The seven doves were the gem,
elegant, a proud challenge
to the ginger tabby
of Wakenshaw Road.
I have been awakened
by what I saw, that code,
that pale promise
in the dim branches.
Looking, like looking on,
at the starving creatures
of winterdom,
I found the doves and I share
the beetle bright gaze
of a certain searching phrase.

Now instead of snow,
it’s the remnants of down
from the seven doves
I know.

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See the winners announcement for commentary on Kimberly’s poem.

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