Dove call

by Mathew Paust

It was the two mourning doves that distracted his thoughts. Their

dreamy, unperturbed ooweww kooo koo kooo back and forth with long

pauses between each call,as if having a lazy, untroubled chat or

simply reassuring each other of their nearness. The effect this had on

Blow was instantaneous, accomplishing what the cacophony of mockingbird

improvs, sparrow chittering, brassy wren announcements, the

woodpecker's determined clatter, the near-enough barking of a couple of

dogs, and the occasional engine-straining roars of trucks and punk cars

on the main drag less than half a mile away failed to do. The soothing

dove calls, conveying distance yet near, beckoned him to an earlier

time, to his childhood, when, as now, they conjured an alluring


He smiled, the poignancy reminding him of his mother's softness. It was

she, he came to realize, who chose not to disabuse him of his notion

the birds were named for their morning singing. He supposed she decided

he eventually would learn otherwise when he saw the spelling, and that

is what happened. Still, he continued associating the sublimely

pleasant coos as morning greetings—which in fact they are--rather than

dirges. So pleasant were the sounds at this moment he overlooked the

irony they were relieving him of worries his young client might well

find himself on Death Row unless circumstances in the case took a

better turn.

[Link in Author's Note to complete Chapter 31 of Death's Honesty]