Confessions of a Pigeon Hater
by Elsa Fernandez
Foamy cappuccinos. Outdoor café.
Erudite garrulous friends,
sharing the New York Times
on a San Francisco morning.
Sleek grey-blue feathers
on compact, plump bodies,
the Columba Livia Domestica
strut fearlessly around our feet.
“Get away, “I yell to these
overfed bullies of the sidewalks.
“Hate these flying rats,” says a friend.
It swaggers confidently,
red-orange eyes stare at me,
puffed with an avian hubris.
Old man, bent and stooped,
pauses to chat, eyes twinkling.
“Hard not to like them,”
clutching a sack of birdseed.
Mild relief all around.
The pigeon flies to the
MOMA banner on the lamppost.
“Pigeons are the Spirit Animals
of this City,” he adds.
Feathered Robber Barons,
I mutter silently.
The audacious female returns,
determined to nab the crumbs
of cranberry muffins at my feet.
Her larger mate follows,
tail fanning in a pre-coital dance.
Not behind closed doors.
“These birds are warriors,”
the old man intones.
“Cher Ami given the Croix de Guerre,
for her homing skills at Verdun.
She’s at the Smithsonian now, stuffed.”
Bidding farewell, I run to the trolley.
Loud clapping of wings—the flock soars.
Old prejudice forgotten,
I marvel at their aerial acrobatics.
Nature’s Blue Angels of the skies.