Mark Mansfield

Pigeon Shoot


[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.

As Vasserot


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.

Mark Mansfield's work has appeared in many publications, including Blue Mesa Review, The Evansville Review, Fourteen Hills, Gargoyle, Good Foot, The Ledge, Magma Poetry, Potomac Review, Salt Hill, Tulane Review, and Unsplendid.  He holds an M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins, and lives in upstate New York where he teaches.



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