When Parrot is dead she doth not putrefy
Parrot is a fair bird for a ladie.
God of His goodness him framed and wrought.
There she sat in her cage, behind the caretaker-window,
company for photographs, for those already dead,
sampled memory’s cookies and from them
learned the gift of slander. With her iron beak
she was a plucky coffee-addict.
in borrowed feathers, from the rainbow,
the sky and the lilies of the field
she entered immaculate
into maidenhood, almost a beauty
in the missionary society, a new force
in the sewing circle and an appreciated
saxophone in the choir
on the way home at night through the town
where the fountain still trickles
and black willows trail against her skirt.
Alone, in fragile health, she no longer
dared go any further on life’s journey
than a spasm in the coat’s green wings
could take her back and back back-
home, to the fiercely agitated
the reassuring simmering heart of the coffee kettle
strip of coastline. Now she is dead.
But her spirit will live,
the rooms ingrained with it. And the reflection
in the window of her middle-parting head’s
every design turns green with mortification.