#180 I Would Rather We Ate Them by Page Lambert

Bittersweet, watching pigeons float
from the neighbor’s roof to my barren courtyard
in this new Santa Fe subdivision, lighting on store-bought bark
beside this transplanted Pyracantha, with its flame-orange berries
and stiff green branches.  Once, I did not know

That pigeons fed their newly hatched a creamy gruel—
from beak to beak the milk passes, those first few days—
from father and mother both, before flight feathers
unfurl, before the young loft and lift in search
of sprouting sun flowers and wild grasses.  Last spring

I leaned the shovel against the fake adobe wall where raucous
ravens, so black they were blue, paced less patient
than the cows my son once knew, even from a distance—each mother,
each calf, each face distinct. I spread fistfuls of store-bought topsoil
with my bare hands and did not know then that tax dollars, yours

And mine, were spent on poisoned corn, spread like candy
on courthouse rooftops, though not knowing had little to do
with the right or wrong of it. Too many pigeons
too much mess.  Better to haul their bloated bodies
to the landfills.  Too many to count,

I would rather we ate them—squab under glass, fed them
to our children at Thanksgiving, cooed back
at their cousins the mourning doves, perched two
by two on telephone wires that stretch, like a mother’s
longing, from Rancho Viejo to Ruidoso.

Page Lambert grew up in the Rock Mountains and feels at home in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.  Author of In Search of Kinship, her essays and poetry are widely anthologized. She has been leading outdoor adventures, writing seminars and workshops for 17 years. Connecting People with Nature. Connecting Writers with Words: www.pagelambert.com.


2 thoughts on “#180 I Would Rather We Ate Them by Page Lambert

  1. HI FROM A RANCHO VIEJO POET! SO GLAD TO LEARN THAT I AM NOT ALONE IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD. ENJOYED YOUR PIECE. HAPPY THANKSGIVING! KAYCE VERDE

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