Four little free-flying parrots violate the first
imperative of writing: create a situation quiet,
calm, and insulated. The youngest thumps
onto my desk like a feathered rock, rips up
an eraser, fat-foots the computer keys
until the monitor spasms and seizes up. While I
huff and run a finger down the manual’s index
toward Troubleshooting, she wriggles
down my blouse, punctuates my concentration
like a possessive apostrophe.
This, as the unattached male squabbles
like a fishwife with the pair over leftover brunch.
He lights on the back of my chair, drops a sticky
tidbit of waffle onto my white shirt, scrambles
after it. The other two land in my lap and wipe
their egg-smeared beaks on my clean jeans.
A sharp-shinned hawk cruises the wild-bird feeders
at the fence line, and the parrots scream, launch,
orbit like comets trailing colorful tails. Down the hall
they wing to who knows what mischief, perhaps
a tasty snack of closet molding, curtain cord, or,
in a moment of better taste, the delicate,
Bible-like pages of Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems
and a Song of Despair.