Sad Pigeon Story

July 15, 1998

A pigeon, bald, smooth and shiny. Stick legs, walking on the paving stones at the side of the house, hurrying along ahead of me, stopping, then hurrying as I come up with my bucket, garden gloves and shovel. It stops when I stop to dig and pull. It moves away when I approach. Looks at me, walks into the plants, trying to keep its distance, a little hop and flutter, pit pit pitta. It reaches the front yard, doubles around and hurries to the back, sidelong glances at me digging and pulling. I go back with the bucket. It looks at me, head bobbing, skip, hop and flutter. It seems to like being on the paving beside the house, but it has to keep moving as I go back and forth with bucket, shovel, clippers and trowel.

Later, I hear voices outside the house. Two kids are looking under a parked car as other cars pass by. The pigeon pit-pats into the road, and the kids chase it back. They’re trying to catch it so it won’t get run over. But it’s under the car and the kids go away.

The next day I’m coming home from the gym and there’s a small smear with feathers on the road.

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