The Parakeet Has Nightmares
and slams herself against the bars
of her covered cage-shrieking and
flinging her wings till the box rocks.
A cartoony blur, it sounds like there’s
another animal in there with her. If
the vision’s so real, maybe there is:
a stray cat skulking outside her window,
a hawk in the oaks that blows her flittery
chirps to shreds with one booming “caw,”
the frantic sparrows darting to and from
the feeder, all locked in there with her.
Maybe it’s the cage itself she fights-
the room around it and the outside
beyond appear mostly whole when
her eyes are shut in song or sleep.
Focus, and it all gets cut to ribbons.
Jennifer L. Knox is the author of four books of poems. Her work has appeared four times in the Best American Poetry serie