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Published: Mon Jul 1 2013
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Ode to the Parrot

Prostitutes in India reputedly carried parrots.
_                                       .               _. _             _ .
[Parrots were] thought to be the original companions of Adam.
_       _ —100 Birds and How They Got Their Names

You are not a sudden
shadow, squeak and blood

on snow; not the rush
of wind and swoop, burst

of feathers in mid-air.
Whore’s companion

and Adam’s first bride,
parrot you are honey-

tongued lover
and the dog’s wide

yawn; you’re the mower’s
green grumble

and the cowbird’s song.
Oh you mushy-hearted

fruit-blue macaw, your
brilliant clown joy is

contagious. Give us your
butter-throated warble,

your coy bel canto
and ring-tone echo

while we madly pat
our pockets for our phones.

Meg Kearney is the author of two books of poems for adults, An Unkindness of Ravens and Home By Now, winner of the 2010 PEN New England L. L. Winship Award, as well as two novels in verse for teens: The Secret of Me and its sequel, The Girl in the Mirror. Meg’s picture book, Trouper, is forthcoming from Scholastic in fall 2013. Her poetry has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Doubletake, Black Warrior Review, Third Coast, Tar River Poetry, Passages North, Desperate Act, The Berkshire Review, and the anthologies Where Icarus Falls (Santa Barbara Review Publications, 1998), Urban Nature (Milkweed Press, 2000), The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present (Notre Dame Press, 2006), and Conversation Pieces: Poems That Talk to Other Poems (Knopf, 2007). She lives in New Hampshire and directs the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College in Massachusetts. For more information, visit her website at www.megkearney.com. (updated 6/2013)

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