The L Joint

On the roof of this five-story building is a forest of tar, softening in the summer, seeping rain in the winter. Pigeons roost there. Not in the tar itself, but in little areas where vents pop out above the forest. There is one larger vent, a two feet wide tube, that makes its way straight down to the bottom floor. At the bottom floor there’s an L joint, where the tube zig zags before turning back down, making its final destination, the extinct steam broiler in the basement. That L joint is exposed in a retail shop.  

Occasionally, pigeons fall down the vent from the roof, even if the top of the vent is roofed and fenced to stop them from roosting. Pigeons must roost. Since it’s a vertical drop and pigeons can’t fly like helicopters, they get stuck in the L joint. There’s no way to get to them, unless you take apart the pieces of the vent, shaped sheet metal, in sections, painted over in decades of lead paint. This, to the best of my knowledge has never happened. The pigeons scratch with desperate claws for a few days. Then silence.


(Next week, a hole will be cut in the side of the L joint. A little sliding metal door will be fixed to its side. Inside the vent, countless skeletons and feathers of numerous pigeons. Their remains will be placed to rest in respect. Now, when the scratching of claws is heard, I will take a very tall ladder and slide open the little metal door.)

19 Comments on “The L Joint

  1. How awful that must have been to hear them trying to get out and be unable to do anything about it. I’m glad you found a way to resolve this.


  2. I feel that writing makes me feel connected to intense emotions, which are mostly subdued. I am really happy to tell you that I have nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award. It would be great if you could be a part of this wonderful community, and have a look at this for more information. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  3. ‘I like to go just like the rest, I like my sugar sweet
    But jumping queues and makin’ haste, just ain’t my cup of meat
    Everyone’s beneath the trees, feedin’ pigeons on a limb
    But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here, all the pigeons gonna run to him’.
    ~ Bob Dylan

    Liked by 1 person

  4. the l joint…

    rooftop pigeons
    homeless children
    fall below
    society’s surface
    an l joint
    desperately clawing
    just survive
    another day
    some other
    the little
    metal door

    slpmartin inspired by elan mudrow post

    Liked by 5 people

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