on the balcony, behind a plant
so desiccated it closed into itself,
three misshapen squabs in a squalid nest.
Wayward tufts of yellow feathers poked out
of their pink bodies. Beautiful, my aunt said.
I thought how un-picturesque, how unlike
pigeons you might find in a painting.
Picasso's pigeons, for instance, on his terrace,
overlooking an untroubled sea, two bright white ones,
a few others, whimsically plump, roosting,
and a pair on a rail. But, in these
unseemly squabs, only a beginning before
they and the mother would separate,
the young moving on, the mother living
only a few more years before she'd die.
My mother, lying in her bed,
next, a recollection. Now, my aunt's light
also dimming. Those unassuming
creatures, fleeting.