Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Tuppence A Bag

On the weekends, Grand Army Plaza at the north end of Prospect Park fills with white tents for the greenmarket, like mushrooms that appear after a storm. They make a miniature city, with little streets that fill up with shoppers and their dogs, their bikes, their strollers, all milling about, buying apples and cheese and bread and cabbages, arms full of flowers and potted plants.

Today, though, walking through the plaza on my way to the library, the plaza is empty, a vast expanse up the sky, criss-crossed by bicyclists streaking through the void, with a lone woman down by Eastern Parkway feeding a mob of pigeons.

The pigeons revolve around her, like worshipers around a shrine, or groupies around a pop star, circling as a single organism, parts of them breaking off and rousing up in a flurry of wings to settle on her shoulders and outstretched arms before diving back to the ground where she scatters sheets of seed for them to eat, and as I walk past I avert my eyes, somehow embarrassed by this naked display of adoration, the birds for the food, the woman for the birds. 

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