Putting doves to sleep

   

Magic works with chickens, bluejays,

even geese. Single mom, party,

 

youngest daughter turning five, 

you, magician of sorts, wandering by --

 

your chance, move past chats of lawns,

bikes, swimming ponds. Kids circle,

 

you announce Paloma, gray dove 

of peace -- open cage, she hops free,

 

eyes bright, feathers sleek. 

You tuck tiny head under wing,

 

cut off light. Grip her tight, whirl,  

ferris wheel her round, wide, 

 

high, with dramatic flair, not once 

but twice. Lay Paloma down, 

 

pull hands away. Like balanced egg,

still at first, she thinks it's night, 

 

goes to sleep, falls on her side.

One wing comes free, lets in light.

 

Paloma wakes, rises, flies away. 

Children stamp, clap, howl.

 

Mom smiles, you bow. Your magic

lasts all night  somehow.

                               Timothy Pilgrim