Mourning Dove

Francesca Burkett

I wander through the foggy meadows
Listening for the call of the dove.
The moss, glistening with the morning dew,
Softly dampers my footsteps
As I clamber over a fallen log.
The early spring leaves, the size of a groundhog’s ear,
Glow a brilliant green.
I pull aside a low-hanging branch to peer into a bush,
Hidden, between the boughs, a nesting wren peers suspiciously at me.
Running on, I stumble into a brook,
Soaked sneakers attempt to balance on rocks as I cross over.
A swallow swoops down, flitting past my ear,
Its cry warning the croaking frogs
Who vanish into the muddy water with a slight splash,
Their webbed feet visible for a moment above the ripples.
Around the bend, I pause.
The deer, drinking, slowly raises its head to stare soulfully into my eyes.
For a second, he hesitates, then with a wave of his white tail
He disappears into the woods.
I run on. Past the brook.
Through the narrow stretch of woods.
Across another field.
A barn rises in the distance.
Two cows slowly shamble over to greet me.
Their wet, velvet noses press against my palm.
Staring at the barn, I listen.
As the sun’s rays spread across the foggy field,
From the roof of the barn,
The dove sings to his mate,
His soft coos echoing through the sunbeams.