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Thursday, December 24, 2009


by David Chorlton

We keep an old pigeon
who can’t fly, can’t see, and who
has lost the feathers on his back
but we bring him in from his cage
at night so he stays warm. He is a part
of the world we can feed
as so much of it is disappearing

while politicians meet to talk
about when they will talk next
about what could be done
if they thought the planet worth saving.
The Christmas mail arrives

with sadness sealing the envelopes.
My friend in Prague tells me
his home has been broken into,
paintings stolen, after his family has lived
there securely under Hitler
then the Communists
but in a democracy he has been burgled
three times. From his spot

in rural Tenerife
another friend reports the man in the next
vineyard is cutting down trees
and replacing them with noise.
What can he say to influence
the government when he can’t even talk
to his neighbour? Back in the USA

change once believed in
has turned into a troop deployment
and insuring the companies
that sell health insurance. The forecast
from Copenhagen is for continued
industrial growth, and we’d vote
for polar bears if we could
but the best we can do is create
a refuge for a single ragged pigeon.

David Chorlton watches the world from central Phoenix where he lives and writes. Sometimes, though, he rides buses. His new chapbook, From the Age of Miracles, appears this summer from Slipstream Press as the winner of its latest competition.