You scanned the area as if it were the first time you had plundered

Your timing was crystalline: the last moments of light, the broken bulb on top of the totem

A surge of parking lot birds echoing in the crisp summer air announced the magic hour

These were trying times, so said a fool who never really knew agony

You watched as the man stumbled, lowering himself from his car. Distracted, he emitted a rasp of air into the curve of his elbow and armed himself with a cloth mask, flimsy as the filter you use (and reuse) for your morning coffee. You analyzed his cadence as he faded out of sight. 

Now is your chance. 

You stand next to the passenger door – these older cars, by design, are so inviting – with a clear view of the fruits of your venture. With swift grace (no hesitation, no nervous glances), it would happen like this: 

Open the door, grab the parrot, close the door, allow the sizable daub of oil on the pavement to glide your heel as you pivot away. 

The parrot squirmed and you loosened your grasp at its piercing behest, then quickly slipped him up inside your t-shirt, where he scratched the narrow folds of your belly.  It’ll be worth it. You know it will happen like this:  

Call your guy, sell the bird, your family will thrive (for a week, at best)

It was no revelation, just the way things were 

You make it to your bike, the one you share with your daughter, the one that embodies what it means to prevail. Like a prophesy fulfilled, it starts to rain. You tighten your fist around the fringed handle. The parrot manages to ascend your thin chest and peck your chin with his generous beak. He’s far from silent. More than once he almost escapes out the neck of your        t-shirt. Don’t be stupid; you wouldn’t get very far.

The back tire, misshapen, slaps out a rhythm as you hum

This

This is not

This is not my

This is not my destiny.


Kristan Taylor is a bilingual teacher who dabbles in translation, editing, and experimental prose. She recently created a poetry table game, which is currently in development. She lives in Oak Cliff with her husband and three dogs. She does not own a bird.