THE PIGEON FANCIER
So what of this wet bench, sheltering dry grass,
the sign of a dead society?
I rather recall the old man sitting down,
wedging his gunny bags against his legs
so that they wouldn’t fall over.
A black pigeon fluttering down
and waddling purposefully towards him.
Then a grey one.
Then a white one.
Then a crippled one.
And in a sudden rush, the air
would be full of pigeons;
down they came from the trees,
from the houses and from the power lines
where they had been waiting
for their pigeon fancier.
The latter carefully broke fresh bread
into small pieces, just the right weight
for the pigeons to grab and swallow.
They pressed around him,
fluttering onto the bench beside him,
even onto his knees and shoulders.
Then, they flew away.
I would ultimately sit
on the bench with the old man,
like two madmen, at a time when
no-one should be out in the streets.
And like two lonely pine trees,
with big cones scattered all around,
Pipio and I would speak of society living.
Your embalmed body looks so fresh
on the bier, like a photo painted
by my talented hand
whenever you used to smile.
I never thought this day would come.
So many fake tears for you, grandmother.
Why are the beautiful crows cawing so much?
In my mind only the whistling leaves
in our garden can pray for you.
Not this impeccably dressed priest.
Who’ll mourn for the dead me?
Who’ll mourn for the dead us?
The funny words we shared perhaps,
or the childless waves
near our little house
that will keep asking me where you are.
For me, you’ll stay the gregarious
bitten by the black cat of human greed.
What wise candle may guide
my soul without your polite presence?
I’ll never curse the one who invented death.
I trust afterlife.
There’s the eternal glow in your eyes
perhaps for me, but while you rest, here,
fresh, smiling, the creeping dusk
has sent everyone to their home,
away from you,
while I prepare to shed an adorable tear.
Amit Parmessur, Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius