Doris Schwerin's free-falling memoir is as hard to confine as the pigeons she began to watch on a neighbor's ledge after they had laid two eggs in a flower pot there. She had had a mastectomy; observing them was a way of using time. But before long she's promoted it to Time--real time, lost time, past time. . . particularly the latter. ""My unconscious is quite a card. . . I wonder how I can afford him."" The cancer experience is there, without the anger of Hildegard Knef, but just as inescapable. It was a ""neutering happening."" The pigeons, by name Smith, are also there until they're ousted by the marauding Khrushchevs who also reproduce and leave. One little bird is afraid to fly--almost as frightened as she is. But then she gets bored with the pigeons and more and more drawn back to her own larger ""ghetto-psyched"" history; to her childhood home in a small New England town where she is still hanging that hat; to the dismissive, incompatible, strong mother who died; to her flawed, neurotic doctor father; to an uncle who gave her some understanding of real love; to her music (she composed the score for Marco g Millions). Thus this pigeon-watching is far more than a casual diversion: it's a way of confirming a leasehold on life, of making peace with oneself and one's past, and of banding emotional connections. It is a reciprocal experience--may it fly.