Saturday 26 June 2021

'No Birds’ Nests in the Tree Next Door' by Rosaleen Lynch

There are no birds’ nests in the tree next door. Though we have one on our balcony. Pigeons with two eggs. It starts with twigs taken from the tree, eye level with our maisonette. I should know its name, but I don’t. Like I don’t know the names of clouds. I ask the pigeon mom why she chose our balcony when there’s such a fine tree to use nearby? She doesn’t answer, and I remember it was her mate who laid the first stick down. I ask why not the tree, why here, why the city when there’s a whole wide world of borderless possibility? She doesn’t answer, but in the evening from the tree, she watches her nest, and me rolling my one cigarette of the day. I tell her I’m not babysitting, she’s got to look after her own damn kids and I ask why she trusts me with her brood, doesn’t she know how dangerous my species can be? There are places we can’t go and places where we’ve to stay. She doesn’t answer, and every day I wait and watch other birds gather in the tree. But still no nests. And when the eggs hatch, and the babies grow and fly the nest at four weeks old, it’s to this familiar tree. I understand, I tell the pigeon mom. It’s easier to witness from far away, we can’t see the beauty of the tree if we’re living in it. And I’m not surprised that you don’t let your babies out until they can fly, when we call them squabs and raise them to be eaten before they can fly.

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