To The Lady Of All Doves

John Grey

John Grey is an Australian born poet, playwright, musician, and Providence RI resident since the late seventies. He works as financial systems analyst and has been published in numerous magazines including Weird Tales, Christian Science Monitor, Agni, Poet Lore and Journal Of The American Medical Association as well as the horror anthology What Fears Become. He has work upcoming in Sanskrit, GW Review and the Potomac Review and has had plays produced in Los Angeles and off-off Broadway in New York.  He is also the winner of the Rhysling Award for short genre poetry in 1999.

To The Lady of All Doves

Behind the Museum of Earthly Delights,

cepheus doves huddle away from blowing dust.

They gather in the salt gardens among

androids and Antares slaves who ignore their

mournful song. No one here feeds the birds.

Robots lack that program. The workers

know no hunger but their own. Yet something

strange occurs when night falls and three moons

float up the sky. Listen and you’ll hear the whistles

from the museum windows. Look up and see

birds perched on ledges, soft hands reaching

through laser bars, suffering the sting to offer

crumbs. In cepheus dove dreams, the lady of

all doves blows clear the dust, forms clouds from

puffed-up feathers, then bursts them with her talons,

gifts rain to the bone dried land, in resplendent greenery

a feast for all. In the dark throes of the waking day,

some crumbs left on a sill make do for bird mythology.

They peck, they chortle, they fly up to their roost.

Guards snarl, why do you feed those worthless birds?

A strange question to ask of the lady of all doves.

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