The Parrots of Puerto Vallarta

Midnight. We chattering tourists,
tamale-filled and Dos Equis-soaked,
wake the caged birds who make
drowsy attempts to answer,
tuck curved beaks under
iridescent wings, close their eyes,
fall away into a lost sky.

In the morning, I call them macaws, the word
parrot too melodious for their shrieks and squawks,
jarring without a jungle chord beneath them.
I stand in a ring of droppings that paint
the concrete around their hotel cage
and apologize. I explain it is their beauty,
our lack of wings, makes us crazy to capture
and contain. Something in green feathers
we crave. Something in the flare of orange
above beaks that bewitches. They cock their
heads, listen eye to eye as if no one
had ever spoken gently to them before.

At the beach, teenagers parasail over
the Gulf, rise on fiesta-colored umbrellas
to claim the sky. These fledglings feel
the thrust of wind, see the planet’s edge
curve, watch fish jump in the sun’s glare.
They point their cameras at passing gulls,
then on themselves soaring in blue space.
Laughing and screaming, they are winched
back to earth, bodies aflame with flight
that burned away their words, left them
squealing and screeching on the sand.

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Carolyn Dahl

Carolyn Dahl was the Grand Prize winner in the national Public Poetry competition ARTlines2 and a finalist in the Work-Themed poetry contest, the 2018 Malovhr-Fenlon contest, and PEN Texas in non-fiction. Her chapbook Art Preserves What Can't Be Saved was published in 2019 by The Orchard Street Press and she is co-author of the art and poetry book, The Painted Door Opened, as well as three art books. You can find her website link below.

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