By Ahmed Latif
A pigeon perched on my concrete windowsill.
It’s been there since the days of the Pharaohs, I think.
Or more like two long Orwellian hours of a heavy late afternoon.
In the dying summer of a city stuck on loop.
Hours that coax us out of our skin and into something a little lighter.
I wonder if this ancient pigeon knows of the whips and the broken backs that have passed through here.
I wonder what this antediluvian pigeon makes of our virtual world.
Is it an escape from a grievous reality?
Or is it a sanctuary for our oppressed, oblong, and dorky selves?
Or is it a distraction from the necessities of modern debt financing?
I wonder what this timeless pigeon makes of the tectonic shift in our rhetoric.
Does this ageless manifestation — who is un-defamed and so unlike us — think a moment is insignificant in the expansive and eroding flow of time?
Does this near-perfect picture of wisdom and neck-shifting favour the hammer or the sickle?
I wonder what it took for this formless spirit to become acquainted with its winged and dusty form.
How long did it take for the pigeon to know itself?
Or to know what it wants?
Sunset is imminent.
The light evolves from a voluptuous red and a beach body orange to a well-read purple and a contemplative pink.
The pigeon sits and stares.
It’s not young anymore, neither are we.
This isn’t youthful hubris.
We are old enough to know not to burn the map prior to the expedition.
I doubt that even the pigeon knows what comes next.
I doubt many things.
Hello doubt, my nighttime companion.
Let the pigeon sleep, it must still wrestle with survival again.
The sun is setting in the city, this ancient gathering place. And the neon lights begin to flicker to life, one blink at a time.