Passages in the Aftermath
(Sun Series #11)
In the low-angled light of a late November morning, White-winged doves patrol the gravel Beneath the feeder, searching for any fallen seeds Rejected by the perched jay. They pace and peck until temporarily displaced By a quail parade. One marching hen kicks up a cluster of white feathers That fly a bit and settle apart. As more pass, the feathers rise again Separated by feet and breeze Till most can no longer be seen. The covey continues out into the low oaks, But a few feathers remain Caught on stones, waving with the winds, One free, rolling over and over, Perfectly white through backlit rays Until the doves return. Not five minutes later… A disorganized army of quail Reemerges from under the oaks Retaking the ground under that feeder. More animated than the doves, They spare and chase and shove each other, Kicking and bobbing and pecking all the time Until, startled, they burst into confused flight, One deflecting off the window with a thud.