To Become Pure: Poetry by Kaila Allison

“They Once Were Doves”


They once were doves:

emblems of peace,

coiffed like kings,

dressed in the white of popes.


Once composed of bones elastic,

weightless in ancestral winds,

bearing love notes or

victories from overseas.


They would fly for miles

and once tired they could

only drink holy water,

all else was

tainted by desire.


They once were doves.

Once carried spiced branches

in their beaks but

now carry surrenders,

weathered gray as tin.


Once destined for the skies

but now are beasts confined

to concrete;

once fed on Earth’s respires but now

eat Her dank defeat.


And even when they see

those steel cars roaring

down their streets they

seek higher ground;

they flee from the death

they might have mocked

when they were doves.


They have a will to carry on,

the almighty pigeon with the soul of the sun:

they know that doves

they may become once more.

Kaila Allison is the Managing Editor of FORTH Magazine. She graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Creative Writing and Adolescent Psychology. Her short stories and essays have been featured in The MillionsTin House’s Open Bar, Liberty Project, Potluck Mag, and The Minetta Review. She is a writer and editor based in New York City. 


Poems curated by FORTH poetry editors.

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