Pigeons

For many months, I mistook the pigeons’ cooing
For her incessant under-the-breath grumbling
That had been a source of widowed white noise
Through my Cartoon Network afternoons.
I now leave a little bowl of water for them
To drink from, to play with, to spill over,
Like she had done in those last few weeks
When she had become the quiet kid,
And I the garrulous grandmother.

We feed the departed when we feed crows,
She had said, not knowing she would be alive
In the simple home-making gootergoo
Of portly pigeons that dipped their plumage
Every evening in the smoky haze
Hovering over the cremation grounds,
Above the sooty patches of ash and cinder,
Left behind by the departing souls
Skyrocketing into their judged heavens.

Is it any wonder when her garlanded photo
Is overlaid by ghostly grumbling pigeons
When the morning rays from the skylight
Hit obliquely across the glass frame?