The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Mark Mansfield
[P]igeons . . . are among the strongest fliers of all birds.
Dumped in a grayish pile off to one edge
of a narrow field where more trap boxes wait—
the acrid breeze plays with their feathers as
a lone gunshot echoes across the ridge,
followed by boyish laughter at a pair
of shattered wings, heaved back in the air.
Then one more shot, as she attempts to fly,
her mate, fluttering slower now in the grass.
When it happens, no one will be prepared.
On a clear bright day when pretty much all seems calm,
and much of the world slugs on without a care,
the sirens will scream too late; and the first bomb
might not be all so different from the last.
The experts, those still left, will preen and say
how they had warned that this might come to pass,
how no one really heeded them, the way
such blinded by foresight have always, who
focus their eyeless gaze. And while bereft
of anything approaching wisdom's grace,
then millions may even pray to Whom they'd left
for dead some time ago, frantic to face
the unfaceable—that nothing we do will do.
Copyright 2006-2012 by Cook Communication