Against Reading

by Shane Seely

I looked hard beyond the symbol to the dove
that labored on the lawn, its head bowed
as though it had lost something—
loose change, a button, a bottle cap—
among the browning grass.
It was easier somehow, from the window
at my desk, to place a meaning on
the strewn feathers and cracked neck:
my own lament at our latest war. So I went
outside to see him. He flapped wildly
at my approach but could not fly. By evening,
a stray cat would have him, would leave
a little blood, one half-plucked wing; until then,
he’d hang his head and wait.
From behind the shed, I took the broken
handle of a hoe and apologized as I struck him
once above the eyes.

Shane Seely’s first book of poems, The Snowbound House, won the 2008 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry and was published by Anhinga Press in November 2009. Shane is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department at Washington University in St. Louis, where he teaches composition and creative writing and acts as Assistant Director of the university’s expository writing program.