like a sweet-sharp hammer against the throat: for maya

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that sunday,

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:

 

hello! hello!

 

chirping out her notes

like a sweet-sharp

hammer

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.

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