BOY WITH PIGEONS / Stephen Dobyns Wings, wings--pigeons at the glass and light gilding their feathers, silhouetting their bodies so both morning light and bird shadow strike the boy staring delightedly at pigeons come for the breadcrumbs he has sprinkled on the ledge. Since daybreak, the boy has been performing his morning chores and now he tends and waters the plants on the table: caladium, begonia, dumbcane. Soon he'll make coffee, heat sweetrolls, carry the tray to his mistress, wait in the doorway, whispering her name till she wakes. Already he is wearing the foolish Templars' jacket the watering can he has almost forgotten the woman who employs him, as he gazes at the pigeons, amazed how a single motion of wings sends them spiraling through the air. He thinks of the dovecote on top of the stable, how from there he can watch the road she supplies for him, but as he stands holding wind through the valley toward cities in the south. The boy taps his foot once on the floor just to feel the floor firmly beneath him and he thinks all he must do is walk through the door behind him to put sweetrolls and breakfast trays behind him forever. He sees the world's roads covering the world like the net with which the gardener covers his berry bushes: one road leading to the next almost forever. Nearby a small bell begins to ring, but the boy refuses to move. Instead he watches the pigeons flutter at the window, then fly up into sunlight which turns their white wings golden as they disappear into blue morning sky. The Missouri Review · 43
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1981
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