On exiting the subway today, climbing the stairs up into Union Square, a small feather fell onto our faces. Then more. We looked up. A large red-tailed hawk was sitting on a branch, slowly devouring a pigeon in front of an American flag, too hamfisted to be an omen, too opaque to not be. The flag flapped a bit, but feebly. The hawk sat still, looked down at the gathering crowd, who were all saying, hawk, or eagle, and all taking pictures. The hawk went back to tearing gobs from the pigeon.
The first time I wrote pigeon, I wrote dove. As in, the sanctified doves of peace of the Pope that were rightfully attacked by two birds that are themselves permanent augurs, crow and gulls, the former because they are plural, the latter because they live off trash and so are already thick with what we so want to forget.
Here, the feathers of the pigeon drifted out into the wind, little downy flecks black with backlighting.
They landed across the pavement, onto windshields, cameras, purses being sold, they settled on the collars and mouths of those passing by.
Uncertain of what augury means any longer, we can only hope that it means what it deserves to: that the American state will be slowly consumed by the same fires it used to light the torches of its slave patrols.