The Dove

A dove doesn’t rest all curled up,
so it’s definitely not ball-shaped
not at all. A dove at rest most definitely still has a neck,
a little curved even,
furled over, and a clearly perceivable beak as well pointing
downwards nicely.
It was yesterday I made this observation.

I was standing on the balcony,
there was no wind and it was sweltering hot,
and dark, but not quite pitch black. Because
when I looked up I saw above me at an angle its
silhouette.
I squinted into the darkness of the dingy streets, thinking I was alone
while right above my head (or almost) a
dove was resting.
Not that tears sprang to my eyes or anything, but I felt quite emotional, nevertheless.
Not like a ball, a dove at rest, I thought,
and more along the same lines,
later.

From Slight Gesture (Miniem gebaar, 1995)
By Peter van Lier
Translated by Deborah ffoulkes

First published in The Low Countries, 1997