(Opal Siegal/Unsplash)

We call it a mourning dove, a misnomer,
as if its placid call were plaintive,
as if it shared our plumbless ache of loss.

But hereabouts it’s simply morning’s dove
riffing daily with the sun’s first rays
a refrain that’s never different

yet never fully the same—
a thousand and one versions
of hello, hello, hello and hello.

It throws its heart into every utterance,
so it never rushes to say
anything more than it actually knows.

Greeting no one in particular—
just joy pretending that it is sorrow.
just morning cooing the world awake.

Then falling silent—
and letting some bigger, brasher avians
carry the day forward.

Richard Schiffman is an environmental journalist, poet, and author of two biographies. His first poetry collection, What the Dust Doesn’t Know, was published in 2017 by Salmon Poetry.

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Published in the July/August 2024 issue: View Contents
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