Dan Campion

The Parrots

We’re colorful. We wear our epaulettes
with pride and toss our heads back to recite,
our feathers better fit for show than flight.
We’re doormen who imagine they’re cadets.
We were the ones who didn’t see the nets,
got tangled up in them, and sick with fright
were shipped here to give service and delight.
Salons on better streets keep us as pets.
We give them back their words, but with a bite
of the exotic, like a taste of lime
or ginger, and a twang shaped by the beak.
It’s marvelous how we clutch, over time,
a perch so slick, so worn, so hard, so slight.
Flung to the gutter, even there we’re chic.

Dan Campion is the author of Peter De Vries and Surrealism and coeditor of Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song, a third edition of which was issued in 2019. His poems have appeared previously in the Innisfree Poetry Journal and in many anthologies and magazines, including Light, Poetry, and Rolling Stone. A selection of his poems titled The Mirror Test will be published by MadHat Press in February 2022. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa.



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