A young wood pigeon, not much more than a
nestling seems, at first, to be sheltering,
from the almost Mediterranean heat,
in the short shadows cast by the pots
of lilies and lavender. But, closer,
I see it is limping, its left foot damaged.
Seeing me, it hobbles out of sight
into an exotic, Sleeping Beauty-type
border of camellia, crocosmia,
rhododendron. Later, an adult bird
lands, walks the edge of the border,
its head bobbing, then flies away. Next morning,
the young bird lies dead by the side gate.
I bury it behind the gazebo
in an undergrowth of ferns and roses
by the back wall, where we have interred –
over forty years – a budgie, a young swift,
a crippled rat, a female hen harrier,
a severed mouse and now the pigeon.
A low body count by any mark.
This time I say, ‘Come, little pigeon,’ as I
load the corpse, which the flies have already found,
on a spade. Someone may discover the sets
of bones, reconstruct the skeletons
and make up a story.