THE PIGEONS OF CHERNOBLE


  (The day after the nuclear accident

 at Chernoble, several hundred homing

 pigeons competing in an annual race

were released in Lyons , Frances for a

destination in Brussels , Belgium . Unlike

previous races, only a few of the pigeons

arrived.)

       

Each generation

fantasy birds visit earth.

Mozart knew them,

so did Freud.

For those who will listen

they tell stories

yet unwritten.

Revolutionaries shrill their slogans,

cannibals and cardinals

intone their forbidden canticles.

They dust sunsets with beatific visions.

 

Now they are scattered over Europe ,

lost in a nuclear storm,

the cord to intuition

clipped in the wisp of a millisecond.

They sit dazed in the pine forests,

beaks ajar

like tiny children beaten for laughing.

 

An official inquiry has concluded:

“Many questions still abound.”

I want to know

what exhortation they carried,

how they will go back,

whether their eyes have grown narrow or wide,

if they feel as I did,

a boy falling backward

off a porch into a spreader bush,

hearing the laughter of aunts and uncles,

my mother saying, “You’ll be all right.”

 

Already I had entered

the unremitting dark.

 

 

Contents / Next Poem Published Works