her majesty’s pigeons

two carrier pigeons perch on your balcony across the alley. the street market below is noisy so you just wave and attach something to one of the birds. i put out some breadcrumbs and you send it over. there’s a photo of you parting each wing of your iridescent blouse; your hair crashing against your chest. there’s a letter inquiring about a clothesline. i fold it, pocket both, and nod with a smile. you toss me the line and pulley and i mount them to my fire escape. i cleverly fashion a pin from a paperclip, jot down and attach a grocery list for dinner, and wheel it back. you read it blankly, hang your blouse, and retreat inside – either disinterested, or misunderstanding.

i smoke.

i put out some breadcrumbs.

i shut my window.

when i return from the street market, i pour and swish gamay, suck meat from the breast of freshly-braised squab

and hang the iridescent feathers on the clothesline

with a smile.