for Barbara Smuts
I wish I had never eaten Alpo® because Spot wanted to lick my teeth, but he likes chicken, and I prefer beef. My friend rescues cardinals, vanguards of the vegan movement because red is the color of blood which carnivores crave. My mother is single and raised me in Baltimore, but there are few jobs for girls who speak like Snoop Dog so I decided to volunteer at the animal shelter where a female macaw speaks English almost as well as I do. She is the only creature who understands my loneliness since we are both monogamous vertebrates living without a mate of the opposite sex. Our emotional attachment is strong, and I have considered adoption, but she is a frugivore with expensive tastes, and I cannot afford her daily diet of blueberries and green grapes. I am sad because Spot suspects that he is losing my fidelity and no longer sleeps in my bedroom. Many women rely on the kindness of pets, but I never realized how complicated relationships can be because there is something wrong with me since I can never put myself in someone else’s shoes. My mother says I don’t try hard enough because I am lazy, but I am always on time for my job at the shelter where I discovered that a bird is more loving than any human I ever knew. I once thought Spot was my best friend, but that was before I learned that vegans are capable of special relationships since their cholesterol levels are low, and macaws never eat meat so they know by nature how to make a girl feel good, I am going to ask my supervisor to put me on night shift. When I have bad dreams, I’ll have someone to comfort me.
Clara B. Jones is a retired scientist, currently practicing poetry in Asheville, NC, USA. As a woman of color, Clara writes about the “performance” of identity and power and conducts research on experimental poetry. Her poems, reviews, essays, and interviews have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous venues, and her collection, Ferguson And Other Satirical Poems About Race, won the 2015 Bitchin’ Kitsch Chapbook Competition. A chapbook of experimental poems is forthcoming in Spring 2016. She studied with Adrienne Rich in the 1970s and has studied recently with the poets Meghan Sterling and Eric Steineger.