Pecking and Nature Walk, 2 poems by Mark Belair



A pigeon
pecking its tail clean
on a shady tenement fire escape

gives me
pause to feel, in its
twisting instinct, the fact of life

after death—
not an afterlife of mine, but of
its spawning species after my demise,

each bird
in each generation
curled and tucked toward its tail,

each making a
soft, gray, feathery circle
surrounding—as if protecting—

its heart,
its presence
in my lost paradise.


Nature Walk


The windblown side
of a tree trunk stands

drenched, its opposing side
dry, the sky—

half blue,
half clouded—

also divided so
splitting a meadow

into sun
and shadow

while a path

lies perfectly

into reflection
and floating leaves:


that sharpen
and still

this squally
fall day

into a singular

Mark Belair
Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Poetry East. His latest collection is Watching Ourselves (Unsolicited Press, 2017). Previous collections include Breathing Room; Night Watch; While We’re Waiting; and Walk With Me. Please visit

Featured image: Kabutar by Akhilesh Mathur. CC license.

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