to the small poem and the quiet voice within

john bennett | pigeons



My mother no longer knows I exist. Genetic fate reamed her memory and her pigeons flew the coop.

I remember my cousin Bobby and his rooftop coop, back before TV. I remember being on the roof with him when I was seven, the drone of cooing pigeons, men in the yard below pitching horseshoes and drinking beer, the women in lawn chairs knitting. Bobby released a pigeon and it soared high, circled and came back to roost on his shoulder.

Bobby was my hero. He was eighteen, and he joined the army and went off to fight in the war. When notice came that he’d been killed in combat, his grief-stricken father went up on the roof, released all the pigeons, and tore down the coop.

They circled chaotically for hours, and in the morning they were gone. Just like the light in my mother’s eyes.

[Vindicated in the Blood of the Lamb a, new book of Shards by John Bennett from Bill Roberts’ superb small press (letter press), Bottle of Smoke Press. | Those interested in a hardcover copy, which usually sell out before the publication date, (August 31) please contact the publisher: Bill Roberts, Bottle of Smoke Press, 902 Wilson Drive, Dover, DE 19904 |


  1. Leonard Cirinoq

    This is one of the very best of Bennett’s work and he’s usually right on. I’m caregiving my 97 year old mother now and t his really hits home. Thanks, Leonard

  2. Steve Fortney

    Just like the light in my mother’s eyes.

    when my brother was killed in vietnam

  3. Dave Steward

    This one, like so many of his SHARDS, ensures that John Bennett’s vision, for us, now, leads the way.

  4. Marc Thompson

    One of the best pieces of writing I’ve ever read.

  5. Jean Casey

    Terrific analogy. The hallmark of gifted writing.

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