Green Hills Literary Lantern

Pigeon Man



 He found her, broken on the street –

it’s an old pigeon story –

tucked her into his windbreaker pouch,

somehow mended the wing.

They stayed awake far into the night,

the bird decorous on his shoulder,

insult of droppings on towel-cape,

pale eye of TV, pizza crumbs on her beak,

as they both turned aside from his wife,

a woman small in her ways.


Finally, just before New Year’s Eve,

on his small front patch of lawn,

he mussed her neckfeathers, violet and emerald,

unpinned the purple ribbon harness

he’d fashioned for her breast.


She ascended through rose-tinted dusk,

past sparrows’ eyes, the chittering of yellow finches,

the chill and canny blackness of crows.

She surveyed pine tree and jacaranda

the urban intersection of all those wires and poles,

gathered herself, swooped toward her kindred

arranged in lines of silent regard,

a dusting of sunset on their heads and backs,

and returned to him,

settling on his arm,

which all this time remained extended.




Rafaella Del Bourgo was born in Hollywood, California, and raised in Laguna Beach. She attended UC Berkeley for both undergraduate and graduate studies. In May of 1995, she earned a Master’s Degree in English from the Creative Writing Department of San Francisco State University. She currently teaches English at the college level. Del Bourgo has traveled all over the world, and lived for eleven months in a hundred year old schoolhouse in Lower Longley, Tasmania, Australia. She also lived for five years in Honolulu and sailed amongst the islands on an old Piver trimaran. Her poetry has appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies in the United States, Canada and Australia. In summer 2001 she was a finalist in the Frances Locke Memorial Poetry Competition and the River Styx Poetry Contest. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2002. In the winter of 2003 she won the Lullwater prize for poetry. Her first poetry collection was published in August, 2003.