Parakeet and Dark Star

151 total words    

1 minutes of reading

Equally unpredictable and uncommon,

one of them dropped from a Tree of Heaven

onto my calloused index finger, feathered

abandon tamed by hunger and the coming frost.

A miracle, my mother wept, while neighbors

trundled from clapboard houses to witness

who’d come to visit among the shuttered factories

and a refinery belching dyspeptic American dreams.

Whose dream? Hope’s a thing with wings

says the poet, her wings clipped by circumstance

and a minister’s black veil, so the bird lived with me

for the price of seeds and astonishment.

At Fifth and Lincoln, his cage lay within mine.

The window perch, cuttlebone, and song,

even a tinny silver bell he’d beak-ring

until I’d let him fly the living room, small space

within the larger, within the great expanse

whose ends no one knows until the light itself

is whistled home to rest upon a finger,

the closed door opened then shut.

  • Kevin Stein

    Poet and critic Kevin Stein was named Illinois Poet Laureate in 2003 and served in that position for many years. A professor of English and the director of the creative writing program at Bradley University, Stein is known for the humor and insight of his poems, and the lucidity of his prose.

More Stories & Ideas

Scroll to Top