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Gregory (5)

Carolyn Gregory

In the Bird Cage

All day, I sit in my cage,
a secretary bird with pretty plumes,
alert to movement,
adept at scratching out a living
in the zoo.

Nearby, Big Bird alights,
pours water in her Chinese cup.
Cluck, cluck, flap, flap.
She coos and criticizes in the same breath.

When the heat rises, two fighting roosters
do a Mexican dance between machines,
pumping up over scientific data
as their tail feathers splay.

And then, the dodo comes,
round and bumbling.
Holding computer entrails,
he cannot fly.
He’s probably extinct
but makes a visit every two to three days
to address the other birds.

On another floor, a nesting falcon gobbles
like a turkey
while a red-headed parrot converses with
the small director owl
who can see for long distances, hover
and swoop in for the kill.

All the birds report to the chief peacock
who rarely visits
but when he does,
his head nearly touches the prefab ceiling
and his fan tail spreads out,
brilliant as a rainbow.

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