In my dream our young bodies prowled a warm night,
a garden-park, vacant besides us.
As we ranged, breathing mist,
we saw a free parakeet with flowing ribbons clipped in his crown feathers. Bright comet descending, he stopped by the fountain, admired his new colors in reflection.
I crept close. He was slow to react, so I caught him.
I removed his crippling decorations, then saw that his wing feathers were delicate sprays of millet, shedding seeds onto my palm. Surprise loosened my grip, and he flew.
I have failed as his righteous savior. He is too fragile, too delicious to live; he'll be giddily stripped at dawn by a dozen seed-crushing beaks. But that is Nature's way, and I am its student, so I must follow to see.
We slunk after, feeling our midnight way across well-kept lawns by instinct and by science -
we are hunters and scholars. Soon we saw him land on a roadside sign; he was not alone.
Two more parakeets, a budgie, and a red Amazon parrot perched together, greeted and groomed, with beaks and claws gently setting each others' plumage right, tucking in the seed-bird's millet, so his wings showed just sleek feathers.
They chattered on. Without translation I understood this convention of uncaged birds, sharing stories, commiserating, celebrating free life. I need not save them; I need not observe their bitter endings.
So I learned. So we learned.
We turned to each other to celebrate free life. We set each other right with fingers and mouths, landed together for a while, then bounded apart into the dawn.
© Laura Seale, 2014
Photo by Suriyahumars
from Wikimedia Commons