MAPPING THE CITY: DC Places, Part
FALL OF THE MOURNING DOVE
Lord help us! you mourning doves
are hanging out with pigeons—
did they seduce you with their
coos and flashy iridescence?
Doves, return to your country
meadows with your break-the-heart
calls—who will weep for you
in this break-their-bones city?
Go back to where we left you
even though we may never join you—
we need to know you're waiting
there in your paisley garments
like the fine clothes great-aunts
wear with cultured pearls
and tiny gold earrings amde
from Papa's cuff links.
You have a position to uphold—
don't turn into street birds
battling for Popeye thighs
tossed on filthy sidewalks.
Fly now, with your creaking wings
and the whir like a mechanical toy—
flee before you become like the gulls
invading the Metro stations
forgetting the hues of the sea.
Shirley Cochrane is the author of Burnsite
(WWPH), Family & Other Strangers (The Word Works), and
Letters to the Quick/Letters to the Dead (Signal Books). She
was a founding member of the Capitol Hill Poetry Group, and taught at
Georgetown University's School of Continuing Education and The Writer's
in Volume 11, Number 4, Fall 2010.