Peck Peck Peck

pigeon study by Craig Cloutier

image ©Craig Cloutier

Out the corner of my mind, a flap attracts the eye:
one of London’s signature pigeons pecks the pavement
at the feet of passing trade.
That fowl, with all the urban trademarks of a seasoned survivor,
hops indifferently out of step with all our shoppers.
Avian paranoia keeping her one beat ahead
as a flock of buggies whirl by,
cooing and braying in time to their handhelds,
while hand holding waddling-bird-chasers.

Outside this monument of the modern,
where the poor grim streets of West
stream seamlessly into gleaming halls
of lure, wonder and wealth.
She gets swept along with a sudden change of pace
as the latest tube empties,
thrusting new hunters and browsers to the flow
of this none stop commercial hubbub.
Yet, even with that commonly mangled foot,
her dingy plumage flings her out of harms way,
just in time to witness the rest of that crowd
inhaled, through myriad glass and swishing doors,
into their own selfish pecking and picking.

Adroit in her decent,
a hectic memory of feathers and dust,
she finds a new space
among the short skirts, and trendy shirted traffic.
That other race, who mistake all her natural beauty for carrion
as they vie to connect with distant voices,
log in,
or simply to marvel
at their own, unique, opportunity
to forage in this mountain of malign values and brand motifs.