Bryce Baron-Sips

How to Scare Away the Kraków Pigeons


Dear pigeon, przepraszam!
I only recognize you because you are clay-and-white,
But when I see you all,
Conferring like public defenders,
I begin to sidestep and misdirect, so as not to disturb you,
A wall as my shield on one side,
A word as my shield on the other.

Dear pigeon, przepraszam!
Excuse me, excuse me if this is rude,
But is it hurting to walk with only one toe on your right foot?
A twinge in my leg affects my whole right half
The way a twinge in the dynamic of two people
Affects an entire car ride. Dear pigeon, is my stalling,
Is it limping the world? Making pain? Spiking a landing?
Or is it soft and insignificant like your rup-rupping, is it as simple
As arguments over what to name a birdsong?
Aren’t most people aware that they’re in the wrong?

Dear pigeon, przepraszam,
I shouldn’t assume like that,
I should worship everyone as brothers, my little doves.
’Cos even as we bully each other, aren’t we bonded? If we aren’t ignoring each other,
We’re growing closer.

Pigeon, do you like my outfit?
Don’t long wool coats become me? With this and my wire glasses,
I look like I could get shot in a movie
I look like I could die to further something else
If you weren’t so on alert,
You’d almost think I was a man.

Pigeon, couldn’t you take this carsick stomach
Back where you came from? Hit the road with it like one of your brethren
And then it’ll live in whatever heap they throw dead birds to?
Couldn’t you rat out the wings in my stomach
Please, proszę?

Dear pigeon, przepraszam,
I haven’t been addressing you properly
I shouldn’t have made those allusions to rats with wings.
I have played at things I meant sincerely.

Dear pigeon, przepraszam,
I have disturbed you and you’re frightened.

Dear pigeon, przepraszam,
I love you I love you I love you.




Bryce Baron-Sips is a queer American living in Sweden. He spends his days trying to understand mycology, and his nights appreciating the products of their evolution. His work has been published in VIBE, beestung, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere.