bird Kunihide Matsumoto copy
Waiting for the Doves
by Laurel Benjamin

I am still waiting for the doves
Everything else returned
Train rattling the tracks
White crown sparrows molting.

Everything else returned
Even the wind remembered
White crown sparrows molting.
We wondered what happened, drinking our tea

And even the wind remembered
Guatemalan cloth on wood table,
We wondered what happened, drinking our tea.
The roof made no remarks,

Guatemalan cloth on the wood table.
Out the picture window a woman walked past.
The roof made no remarks,
Did not swing its arms.

Out the picture window a woman walked past.
The town became a silhouette
Did not swing its arms
Mouth masked but not silenced.

And the town became a silhouette—
Until construction workers resumed
Mouths masked but not silenced
Stacks of two by fours littering driveways.

Until construction workers resumed
And the grocer’s inventory changed overnight
Stacks of two by fours littering driveways
Bottled up, now exploding.

And the grocer’s inventory changed overnight.
We did not cease fighting, name calling
Bottled up, now exploding
An army, sent out

We did not cease fighting, name calling
Could not suspend hostility
An army, sent out
Protestors packed into a van

Could not suspend hostility
Did not carry white flags
Protestors packed into a van
Did not demand peace

Did not carry white flags
Instead saying to the police
Did not demand peace
Leave Black men alone

Instead saying to the police
Past steam trains, gas lamps, expanded empires
Leave Black men alone.
We should have been ready

Medieval cobblestones more firm
In our minds than ever
And I am still waiting for the doves.

PAINTING: Bird by Kunihide Matsumoto.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My creative process and experience with this material: Dovetail (no pun) pandemic with protests and the experience of what’s amplified versus what’s missing, both aurally and emotionally. And then there’s everyday life, which for some us still goes on.

Laurel B

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laurel Benjamin lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has appeared in Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down: An Anthology of Women’s Poetry, California Quarterly, The Midway Review, MacQueens Quinterly, Wild Roof Journal, Silver Birch Press, Poetry and Places, WordFest Anthology, Global Quarantine Museum Pendemics issue, including honorable mention in the Oregon Poetry Association’s Poetry Contest, Sunspot Literary Journal’s long list, among others. She is affiliated with the Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and the Port Townsend Writers. More of her work can be found at thebadgerpress.blogspot.com.