Monk's Bird Book

Mourning doves are not owls after a while
away from the city      not because the country
appears of a softer feather       less predatory
              you're thinking a sound more naturally friendly
              less edgy and dangerous than the subway
but because the
city city to city within itself so sharply
details for you   actually walks you through
a training in the amplitudes of form
                after a while that sharpness wipes the smile
the natural had you putting on everything.
Really owls       are so soft       their deadly
                accuracy of flight depending on it
they are all but silent      a recognizable law
nobody says shit you learn       the city
has taught you to  pick up on     which wings
bring the disk of their sun for around
your neck each day
                                       and which take you out;
and that your green act of good is natural
in that it too depends on the weather.

Ed Roberson, "Monk’s Bird Book" from City Eclogue. Copyright © 2006 by Ed Roberson. Reprinted by permission of Ed Roberson.
Source: City Eclogue (Atelos, 2006)
More Poems by Ed Roberson