Cockatiel not you by Sean Lause

tree in black and white beyond a wire window
Framed by a Window by Groveland Media. CC license.

not you,
a yellow and orange
Bright with her own meanings,
clatters round the outside
of her cage,
without fear,
flourishing her freedom.

Her eyes, seeds of darkness,
see all that is not
you, see you too, see
dual worlds, one on each side,
her head a ball turret,
tail a trailing spear.
feather in her cap.

She whistles “Whataru?”
won’t wait for an answer,
explores the floor,
foraging as she goes,
mounts the top of an armchair
renowned for its emptiness,
spreads her wings and sings
her triumph, not yours.

Outside the wide windows,
madness screams in the trees.
But she sings and sings so expertly,
the madness is not yours.

Sean Lause is a professor of English at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio. His poems have appeared in The Minnesota Review, The Alaska Quarterly, Another Chicago Magazine, The Beloit Poetry Journal and Illuminations. His latest book of poetry is Samsara Town (Taj Mahal Review, 2023).

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