* * *
holding in one clawed foot, the fruit, the parakeet thrusts
its beak into the brilliant fig, plucking hard at the pith
it’s another one of those nights, my fingers
can’t stop working the screen
the beak is small, barely the width of a thumbnail. yet with it,
the parakeet works, steadily and surely extricating
i have been here before. scrolling, always scrolling,
thumb going swish-tap / swishhh-tap
the bird works past the fruit’s dusky wall into the soft, ripe flesh.
the sweet, astringent tannins tickle its tongue
photos of her in new york, manhattan bridge in the background,
celebrating a birthday, friend’s wedding in pink, some bar
called mood ring, park, rooftop, park, rooftop, beach,
i skim again the captions for brief wit / swish-tap /
if a parakeet does not eat enough fresh fruit and vegetable
it suffers from vitamin deficiency. figs make good fruit.
i dig deeper—what is it i want, really?—unearth old accounts
her life?—a past, a class——-her poems?——stories, playlists
lovers, dreams——–swish-/tap/—or just her, just all
of her?—swish-tap / swish-
one loosened finger—the sweet fruit descends from the tree.
* * *
Rachel Kuanneng Lee writes poetry. Her work appears in or is forthcoming at Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, The Tiger Moth Review, wildness and the Live Canon 2020 Anthology. She is a Brooklyn Poets Fellow. She is also co-founder of a data science startup and hopes that someday, she might be able to make a coherent narrative out of her career choices, even if today is not quite that day. You can find her online at rachel-lee.me.