My cockatiel got out by Sean Lause

My cockatiel got out.
I was cleaning the living room window
and she shot out free in an arrow of light.
I ran after her,
knowing her innocence unprepared
for the rough local birds,
those packs of scamps and nest-thieving thugs,
those reckless rags of wind and wing
whirled round by the elements
would gleefully shred that slight drop of yellow,
my slender perfection of bird.
I spotted her.
Just a mark in a distant elm
like an afterthought inscribed there
by a painter’s thumbnail.
She was surrounded by crows calling their hate
in cries that shredded the blue air.
I climbed, reaching and reaching.
In my loneliness I forgot my name
for a moment.
My heart fluttered and cried before words would come.
Then she cried out.
For me?  For the moon to appear?
In awe at a world with curves and no metal bars?
She flew to another branch, that taunt with wings.
I cursed her through tears and climbed and climbed,
reaching for the shiver of sun that was her new home.
She tilted her head and chirped a
then a
And then, as if surrendering all that is loved
to loss, she fluttered into my palm
as light as a sleeping child’s breathing.
As I ran home I clutched her to my heart,
feeling her heart beating in rhythm
to love and hate, love and hate.

Sean Lause “I teach courses in Shakespeare, Literature and the Holocaust and Medical Ethics at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio. My work has appeared in The Minnesota Review, The Alaska Quarterly, Poetry International, The Xavier Review, Another Chicago Magazine and The Beloit Poetry Journal.”


2 thoughts on “My cockatiel got out by Sean Lause

  1. What an intense yet delightful piece. I love cockatiels – I’ve owned two. I recently wrote a short story about a “crazy bird woman” who is obsessed with her cockatiel. They’re charming little birds.

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