Doves – Henri Cole

Gray and white, as if with age, or some preserving

of the past, as in Beowulf, our hoary ancestor,

hoary as in a bat or a willow, or the venerable

hoary dove that flew straight into my picture

window today and then lay dead on the front porch.

We buried it—in some distorted version of its normal self—

folded in a white cloth napkin in the back yard.

Still soft enough to be cut into like a cabbage, I thought,

I’m glad I’m not dead. Listen to them now,

higher up in the trees, biting and scratching,

with their unmistakable twitch of life. Don’t fear

nothing, their twittering voices cry. The true spirit

of living isn’t eating greedily, or reflection, or

even love, but dissidence, like an axe of stone.