Pigeons roosted in chimneys,
made do with muck in lieu of nest –
cooed like wind in bottleneck,
shrugged above the spluttered smoke.
Some days they’d drop down flue.
Cushioned thud of leg or foot
licked by blackened morning grate,
soot of feathers singeing.
Some sparked out from Makinson’s
chimney. We watched them unravel,
bits of rubble – a sleet
of feathers flustered in flame.
Then the one that kept on going,
asbestos wings erupting
with rubies. Its molten flight
above the ashen factories.