In mourning the parakeet props his blue wings
awry, sourly fluffs his feathers; with a sort
of Willy Loman resignation he hunches his short
neck, his frail shoulders. Days past, he would sing
backup to any tune—the smoke alarm, the White
Stripes, erupt into an avian scat solo, wild child
of cool, jazz messenger from the bestiary side.
Now anyone can tell he’ll be dead before night
sifts down through these overripe maples, this sweet
mosquito gloaming: slit eye plunging fathoms
through an empty sea, pale breast a shallow cavern
of farewell, each tiny gasp a plummet
into dark; yet how long he takes to die!—death
killing pity even as it covets his brief, failing breath.
[forthcoming in How the Crimes Happened (CavanKerry Press, 2010)]