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Here in a parking lot in February
Where snow, piled through the winter, melting in thaw,
Had sent a freshly pulsing tributary
Across the asphalt like a silver claw,
A dove landed, dipped, and drank, wary.

Almost as swift in flight as peregrine
With wings that whisper rhythm as it flies,
Cautiously wild, yet still in cities seen,
This is the mourning dove, whose presence vies
For space against construction and machine.

Songbird yet gamebird, prey to hunters’ pride,
Preyed on as well by hawk, egg-hungry crow,
This gentle bird has managed to abide
As habitat is lost and cities grow
On lands that we have seized and occupied.

Against the testing threats of time and place
This dove, dipping to sip from pavement pool,
Tempers with peace our noisy crowded space,
Our heedless use of brash technique and tool,
With wilderness refreshment in its grace.

Francis Fike is retired from teaching English at Hope College, Holland, Michigan. He is the author of several books of poetry and serves as a contributing editor to Perspectives.

Photo: CCO Public Domain.