by Lauren Davis
When I was young, my white-faced cockatiel’s eyes shone black.
He communicated with his erectile crest and cocked head.
I could not read him well. I offered little water, fewer seeds. Once,
I stepped on his tail, tearing it off onto the carpet. I wept a long time.
After, he couldn’t fly right. He kept going off to the side.
Sometimes you just stare at me, darling, your face blank.
You ask for the vodka cupped in my mouth. I crawl over you,
spilling it around. How clumsy I’ve become, grabbing the soft hairs
at the nape of your neck. I have harmed before. I can do it again.
Lauren Davis is a poet living on the Olympic Peninsula in a Victorian seaport and arts community. She holds an MFA from Bennington College, and she graduated from the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Prairie Schooner, Ibbetson, Spillway, and Clarion.