Sometimes I imagine the brilliant red cardinal preening on my deck is my grandmother, come back to check on me. Counting my many sins and tucking them into a contour feather for later condemnation.
The hawk circling high above, my father, still calling me to heights I can never attain.
The crafty crow, an old lover, still smiling as I undress.
All long since dead.
They never offer me messages or advice, just flutter and fly as if they were
actually birds and not ancient souls whose lives entwined with mine
like waters mixing in rivers.
They pause only long enough for us to see one another, like passengers
on trains going opposite ways.
Who will be left for me to haunt when I am finally dead? What color
feathers shall I take as I glide to a city roof and stand, head tilted
to the side, looking for that one face?
Marguerite Floyd is a Kentucky native. She holds an MFA from Vermont College and is the author of four books: Everyone’s Daughter (poems), The Parrot Reckonings, The African Brown-Headed Parrot, and Cockatiel Lessons.
When not obeying the commands of her three small parrots, she writes, edits, and publishes.