Scarlett

Ode to Scarlett, My Cockatiel (1986-2017)
By Metty Pellicer

I couldn’t wait for her to die, I often said
Whenever encumbered to find caretakers
Every time I left to roam the world

And upon my return, she was there
To greet me with excitement and fanfare

For thirty-one years she lived , but on this one afternoon
I found her silent, unmoving, keeled on her back
She was dead.

Oh no! No! no! It couldn’t be
I whistled but she did not respond.
Scarlett was dead, and now what was I supposed to do?

She was a presence, I realized.
A living being that I had gotten accustomed to
She would perch on my finger and climb on my shoulders
And tickled my ears as she nibbled on a fiber of my hair

She learned to whistle like a bad dude, at every pretty face
And when children visited, she’d put on a show
She studied footfalls, and heralded passersby with recognition
Condo dwellers hurrying past my hallway, would pause to listen
And smiling, would keep it on to light up their day
But she’d also hiss and bite if provoked
But prompted with the right approach and in the right mood
She’d talk non-stop and on and on, like,

When she went into apoplexy with her choice words
At Johnny’s wake, in the midst of prayers
Her clear words floated shrilly, above the drone of hail Mary’s

She was a tiny whiff of a bird, a mere 5 ounces, if all
With pale yellow plumes and a smudge of scarlet, painted on her cheeks
She stood, proudly on her perch, her head feathers upright in a crown
She was a beauty, admired by all and unforgettable when she whistled
And then she’d ask, as clear as a bell, the immortal question,
Did you fart? Did you fart? Did you, did you fart?

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