December in Chicago


Huddled in the lee of the building,
puffed up to twice their size, the pigeons
have lost their early impudence;
now, they settle in to endure. Humans
dream of flight, casting off from high branches,
catching the wind, soaring through halls
of air, wheeling and tumbling, freed
from terrestrial burdens. But this too,
is what it is to be a bird; with grace comes
fragility. Hollow-boned. Feathers serve
as slight protection against rain, snow,
ice that encases branches grown
treacherous. The seeds are buried,
and even water is hard to come by.
This winter, I resolve to remember
to fill the feeder, at least; that much,
surely, I can spare. Pigeons are not
the loveliest of birds, but they also
fly. They will take wing again, lend
us their dreams, if they survive the winter.