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The Dublin Birds

Scattered troupes of seagull dancers

practice their footwork in pairs

on the part of the lawn that is Theirs,

presumably subinfeuded to them

by a peacoated parliament

of their magpie patrons, the ones

I’m told to wave goodbye! to

if I see them alone.

In the corner of my eye

a crow-clergy gathers

to discuss the salvation

of the pigeon peasantry’s souls,

or to caw-complain about the stale state

of their daily breadcrumbs.

They were better during the Boom.

The pigeons are prettier here,

sporting resplendent hues,

though some are just as homely

as their Chicago cousins

with their muted greens and blues. I wonder

if they coo with an accent

and if you dumped a Chicago pigeon

unceremoniously onto the green

I wonder would it take him

a while to learn their lilt

and I wonder if the Dublin pigeons

would try to meet him halfway,

to communicate in some sort of

transatlantic pidgin Pigeon

that neither bird could parse.

I make myself laugh imagining it

and scare a jackdaw I hadn’t seen.

Migratory woodpigeons join the local ones,

adding their wing-clap clatter

and distinctly continental coos

to the collective aubade.

I wonder when they strut these streets

if they compare the cobbles to home.

It’s spring now, I’m told. I have

no sense of seasons here.

I fear mosquitos where there are no

mosquitos and try to taste

hints of placebo winter

in the raindrops I catch on my tongue.

This morning, I saw a swan

on the Liffey. Now, aloft on a coda

of woodpigeon warbles

and the incessant demands of the dancers,

I find the temperate charm of Dublin

and remember feeling home. I wonder

if the migrant birds only go back

because they forget how bad it had gotten

before they fled. I wave goodbye!

to the last magpie and leave him

to his fiefdom on the green.


Julian Kanagy

Julian Kanagy is a Chicago-based poet and editor. His poetry samples a Midwestern upbringing peppered with loss and abandonment, thrives both in the confines of formal structure and the simplicity of its absence, and expands into an ongoing search for the beauty in everyday life when it seems to be hiding. He started Heirlock Magazine to amplify underrepresented voices and The Wild Umbrella to celebrate writing for writing's sake; both as an editor and in his own work, Julian follows the advice of a mentor: “find the poems that nobody else could have written.”


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