Mourning Doves

They are wintering over. In the mornings

I’m an eavesdropper to their aubade,

low, woeful murmurings

gurgling into my inner ear.

Dawn greys the windowsill

where a pair alights above

the snow-shadowed park.

At fourteen, I’m dreamy-eyed

and full of faith that the lessons

in the ways a marriage of true minds

would shake impediments

will come to me like peals

on the wind, as supernaturally

as Jane’s small cry was carried

to the one who despaired

of hearing it. Outside, there’s little

to forage. The fountains are frozen.

The day waits. I tumble downstairs,

eager to discover what came after

that long locked wait in darkness,

after the feats of courtship, after the nerves

which thrilled with grief and indifference

now quiet and hum. What comes after,

reader, when one soul must take its leave

of the other, to find food or shelter,

from the most demanding season?

For I had yet to learn what those

creatures endured, that one stays behind,

one always does. To see through the winter

that will end, and the winter that will not.

Phoebe Wang has completed an MA in English and Creative Writing at the University of Toronto. Her work has appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, Canadian Literature and Descant. She placed second in the 2011 Short Grain with Variations contest and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012.