three days before maya’s passing,
we had planned to wake and make bacon
and don our ironed church dresses and ribbons
and drive to holy communion where our secret shame
would be washed clean as fresh snow, and we would know
we were safe and loved and sacred and full of dove-tailing freedoms.
and then our parakeet died.
she had been singing and flitting
and pecking and strutting in her upright
cage for days; calling out to us and
to the wild birds at the window:
chirping out her notes
like a sweet-sharp
against the throat:
i’m here! i’m here!
we had not planned to have any more caged animals;
the thought of being trapped in a cage is agony.
our rat, lizard, even chinchilla had not seemed to mind –
perhaps because their desperation was quiet and wide-eyed;
but the un-clipped yellow, white, and blue birthday parakeet
chiming out her presence like a continual clock
was too much – too much holy happiness
for such a confined space; too much awareness, sadness.
we could not forget her.
we could not forget ourselves:
breeding her in a cage, perching her on a stage.
and now, in a little shoe box, taped up tight and still,
her brittle body rests: quiet, empty, de-willed.
her spirit has flown up and away where her body could not;
her song has gone before her, trilling into the clouds.