Yvonne C. Murphy: Nests

I can’t get settled, the floor scattered with boxes,
each day filled with unpacking, placing and building.
Pigeons shuffle on the fire escape or sleep with heads tucked
into iridescent necks, pacing on the windowsills, gray
bodies anchored by pinkish feet. Zut, zut – nests plastered
with shit, feathers and dirt, flu and viruses levitate on wings.

All day the demolition of a single family houses, wrecking
balls make way for condos outside my third story window.
The boarding up of yards before each building’s collapse,
piece after piece comes down: old refrigerators, bathtubs
idling at the curb. Each room an empty case exposed
through the cracks in graffittied plywood – pink bedrooms,
skeletons of plumbing, brick facades torn away, tar-papered,
once stately before the long boring into the ground.

The pigeons mock me, this family of five, their burbles,
white eyelids fastened to blot out the day, always coming back
to rebuild in layers of twigs and crap, imbrications of filth
flaked through windowscreens. Pest species, opportunists
surveiling from the sides of their heads. I ruined their nest
with the end of a broom, watched it crumble,
disassemble on the grass below.



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