A Mourning Dove, Mother’s Day in the Pandemic Year
She’s already been there a week,
day and night, in high winds, hail,
snow. Not one seed has passed her beak;
she’s that determined not to fail.
Her nest is crude, just twigs, no more,
heaped up between my gutter’s drain
and the end-board. I saw it pour
down over her, the cold hard rain,
and watched the north wind ruffle
her feathers. A red-tailed hawk
patrols above; she can’t shuffle
her feet, stretch her wings, squawk.
I’d like to help, to toss a crumb,
but afraid I’ll scare her off. So, I
keep watch, once in a while drum
on the window, a feckless ally
drawing her black eye, give a wave,
beam an encouraging grin.
That hawk’s a worry; I want to save
her from the peril she’s in.
My sympathy’s useless. I can’t do
more than cheer her, witness her fate,
hope it warms, pray the sky stays blue
and watch the future incubate.
Locked down by life’s imperatives
—two eggs, one virus—we’re both stuck fast
in our respective narratives,
unsafe and silent and harassed.
Robert Wexelblatt is a professor of humanities at Boston University’s College of General Studies. He has published seven fiction collections; two books of essays; two short novels; two books of poems; stories, essays, and poems in a variety of journals, and a novel awarded the Indie Book Awards first prize for fiction.