You will tell her it’s dirty
the pigeon she chases her tiny hands open
through the park Not a mom
I don’t know what makes one freeze or flee
pull the lips back to bare teeth
I only know that I love the white ones
brushed with shades of brown of pink
so like doves the blueblack pigeons less so
there are so many I almost don’t see them
save for their pecking necks
Once when I fed old bread to the birds in Rittenhouse Square
tore the slices into pieces and tossed them to the grass
just as fast one pigeon winged down
then another then another
then a horde soared past my head
and for a moment I was Tippi Hedren
I was dumbstruck
like while looking at Salgado’s black and white
photographs of exiled migrants from around the globe
fragments of families masses on gallery walls behind glass
on glossy pages bound in hardcover to take home
those eyes the muddied limbs the long desperate velocity
A painter friend shows me how between
the colored forms on a canvas
the white spaces take shape they no less necessary
in their falling away
Recall that drawing from grade school? the one
of the young woman or the hag?
how one image recedes
as the other returns to your shifting gaze?
Tell your daughter this: The world has a beautiful ugly face.
The trained eye sees what it’s looking for.