She was a Dove
by Gerald Stern
for Anne Marie
Red are her eyes, for she was a dove once,
and green was her neck and blue and gray her throat,
croon was her cry and noisy flutter her wing once
going for water, or reaching up for another note.
And yellow her bill, though white some, and red her feet
though not to match her eyes for they were more suave,
those feet, and he who bore down above her
his feathers dropped around her like chaff from wheat.
And black was her mood, consider a dove that black,
as if some avian fury had overcome her
and overtaken my own oh lackadaisical state
for she was the one I loved and I abused her.
Blue we lived in, blue was our country seat,
and wrote our letters out on battered plates
and fought injustice and once or twice French-kissed there
and took each other out on desperate dates.
And it was a question always should we soar --
like eagles you know -- or should we land and stay,
athe battle I fought for sixty years or more
and still go over every day.
And there was a spot of orange above the bone
that bore a wing, though I could never explain
how that was what I lived and died for
or that it blossomed in the brain.