The house they had roosted in for a decade
came down in a day. The woman who
owned it was a perfect Halloween crone
when she died. I only saw her stooped
over with a cane and broad brimmed
straw hat. Chunky’s mother would
talk to her sitting on the bank by her front
door and several good-Samaritan cousins
would help out, cutting down the tall
grass where snakes might be and
making sure she was alright. Law,
Chunky’s uncle, would scare the pigeons
away when he stopped by with rocks and
a long stick . . . but the pigeons by then
had moved in for good and always
The story I get is that Luanne had
a husband who stole her money and
left her like a Thai Miss Havisham.
The old woman’s family tried to sell
the house when she died but to no avail.
So, in the end, the house came down.
The day after there were about thirty
pigeons clumped together on a telephone
line facing where their house had been.
In the afternoon I watched a few on the
ground pecking for bugs on our dirt drive.
When they rose up they flew to exactly
where the eaves of the house had been,
did double take in midair, and flew on.