As the day star rises over a frozen field,

kissing the roofs of houses, the barren

limbs of pin oak trees and the long arm

of the church spire reaching toward the

wintry sky, I can’t help but think of the

rock pigeons we saw huddled wing-to-

wing early last evening, on two ropes of

electrical wire. We passed by them so

quickly, I only glimpsed these dozens of

dozing birds, though long enough to note

their cozy coexistence, their companion-

able willingness to keep each other warm.

Heads tucked into their necks, their chests

puffed like rising pastries, most slept but

a few, perhaps keeping watch, remained

vigilant. Like twin strings of black pearls,

they enhanced the beauty of the bright

firmament that would soon fold them into

its purpling light — their little bird hearts

beating as one through the cold, dark night.

— Terri Kirby Erickson

Terri Kirby Erickson’s most recent book of poetry is
Sun Inside My Chest.

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