Poem: Holy spirits

I know them by the beat of their wings:
the short slap of the duck with barely a downbeat
the undulating wave of the woodpecker
the sparrow’s flit and the vulture’s stately glide

Under the bridge pylon the dim pigeon leaps
from feet red as meat
and opens gray wings, a perfect curve around
the soft sphere of its body. Then you can see
why, ghost-white, it is named the holy spirit
this humble bird of stone and hearth

and the ones we don’t readily know,
their small bodies as familiar as supermarket strangers
gray or brown, typically. Blurring the very edge
of your vision where the hedge and path meet
threading songs that pull you to wonder
as the blowing feather just out of reach


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