Think of the dovecote as a prototype of the columbarium—rows of small hollows stacked in soft rock or clay to house these small-breasted birds. Slender-billed and dusky, purplish-backed, russet-crowned. Shining Imperial, Pompadour Green, Bleeding Heart pigeons and Emerald Doves of the family Columbidae. Some are bred for their homing skills, a kind of innate sense that is both compass and map: guarantee they'll find a way to fly home and not to any other place. Perhaps today is the day my mother finally finds her own way home, after months of illness and years of tribulation. Her skin is almost the sheen and featherblue of birds. Like theirs, her bones will hollow out, the skull become lighter so it does not weigh her down in the air.