post 233: doves, statues, garden, theory

by Carol Bass

Marsh 2015-1 copy

NEW SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

I’ll tell you a story

early yesterday, while applying eyeliner
watching light sparkling the walls
I noticed seven mourning doves
underneath the bird feeders
each one pointing in a different direction
still, silent
small cement garden statues
you know
those songbirds always bobbling, wobbling through irises and day lilies
pecking for seeds

but these seven were still, still
they remained, clay moulded from the earth
soft bellies
orangey-red legs and feet
squeaky wings flying them to hemlock tops

ok please, become a dove yourself, exploring cornfields
breakfast for your babies
suddenly, violent pelting
piercing soft brown breasts
ripping tender flesh
the shooting stopped
then someone kicked and stomped on you
blue skies turned black
as your head was twisted, ripped off

placing my eyeliner on the windowsill
I noticed the unmoving seven
my theory….you’ve been wondering
several hours earlier, at daybreak,
many shots of dove hunters in the cornfields by the bay

the birds in my garden were in shock
partners killed, frightened babies left in nests
survivors of a nightmarish war

Ye Southern gentlemen,
oh, ye football men, ye GARDEN AND GUN MAGAZINE,
ye SOUTHERN LIVING
our small sons don’t need this tradition, this KILLING
to raise them up
to make them men
the doves won’t last forever

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