Reader Submissions

Well-Known Corners of the People

Homing Pigeon

Patrick Deeley

From the high window ledge of the house next door,

he looks down into our kitchen.

Two days since he landed, and whether we dance

to the radio or open a newspaper,

whether we chatter about nothing or argue over

whose turn to cook, whose to dish-wash,

our routines seem to matter more because he is there.

Nightfall, the iridescence braceleting

his neck, the rings – one pink, one emerald –

on his feet grow dim.  We query the compass of his

iron-tempered beak, said to catch

the magnetic register of the world, or imagine him

blown off-course, or as a spy, or taking time out

to develop the photos he snapped

on the wing, to embellish the traveller’s tales he will

regale his friends with.  Is he lonely

for a family we don’t know, whose resemblance

he sees behind our window?  Or maybe

there’s a message he intends for us, about the fleeting

nature of everything, the tricky business

of enjoyment and how, late or soon,

we’ll feel at a loss on glancing up to find he has flown.