Explicit Messages

The sidewalks are empty for miles,
snakes drying out into skins.
They had something important
to tell us, but we couldn’t hear them
over the roaring wind, and the music
from the radio, tied to a tree branch,
Disorienting sounds so loud
they made the birds take off
and curse, in that bird language of theirs.
There were never any limits on those words,
just etchings of them scraped into telephone
poles, and park statues, unofficially.
I was never able to read them myself,
but I’d sometimes ask the old woman,
feeding the pigeons, about them.
Her face framed in gray hair that stuck out
of the holes in her ancient straw sun hat.
She would read them to me,
and most often they were explicit messages
of love from one bird to another.
Usually obsessed with falling
from great heights while fucking,
and drinking water from the fountain
in between songs.

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