wakened by the thunderous throaty rumbling of pigeons flocking on my bedroom fire escape, I threw open the window and they all flew away except for one huddled feather ball, so I filled a water glass in the kitchen and walked back down the hall and tossed the water onto the bird which recoiled and scooted back against the wall and froze. I got a broom and nudged it toward the edge, its wings flapping at the bristles, struggling to keep its place, and I realized it was too old or sick or injured and unable to fly. I pulled the broom inside and the pigeon hunkered down on the metal landing, chest heaving, black eyes blinking fearfully. I closed the window and got back in bed and thought of being old and unable to move, perched without remuneration on somebody else's sill, waiting to be tossed onto the sidewalk, or if I'm lucky allowed to sit quietly, breath growing short, until I croak and they sweep me out and clean up the shit I left behind.