|Apr/May 2017 Poetry Special Feature|
Photographic image © 2017 Stuart Gelzer
A Wednesday in April with Pigeons, Daffodils, and Broken Glass
If I weren't writing poems during my daily commute in April—bus or train, both coming and going—I might have forgotten how today, the pigeons at the Madison/Monroe stop on Michigan Avenue were spoiling the full loaf of bread someone had given them, flinging torn bits in airborne frenzy. The bus doors opened and closed as I watched from my seat facing storefronts and sidewalk, and I wondered what strange miracle this bread might be to those birds or if it were habitual, a daily occurrence, turmoil I had never noticed.
I might also have forgotten the afternoon walk I took in the Art Institute's gardens, the lacing branches of honey locusts overhead, how the glory of daffodils seemed to appear overnight, how when stopping to gaze at Lorado Taft's The Fountain of the Great Lakes, I grew suddenly breathless, unable to explain why statues make me feel unmoored—how I feared, for a moment, that the bronze nymphs in the empty fountain would move and speak, extend their graceful arms, while I grew still and silent.
And last, I might have forgotten the shimmer of broken glass on the sidewalk near Jackson and Wabash, at once clearly visible and then suddenly gone when I passed where it had been. Was this only illusion wrought by sunlight on pavement or is peril always beside us, always ordinary, present yet obscured? Nothing crunched beneath my shoes as I returned to work, but I still walked along the sidewalk's edge, avoiding the invisible.