Dogs 2012

POOR OLD BIRD
(12/8/12)


he was
a 24 year old
cockatiel
which nobody
wanted

his original
owners
had passed away
and he had since
been shuffled
from one relative
to the next

one dark
room
to next

none of them
bird people
he had
no human interaction
other than
being fed
and watered

then
an in-law
met my wife
and saw that
she was
a soft touch

we
already had
one cockatiel
in the house
so why
not?

she brought
him home
one Tuesday
afternoon

he
was in
an ancient
rusted
moldy
excuse
for a cage
that reeked
of cigarette
smoke

she said
that
a new home
was needed

he looked
at us
through
the bent bars

asked
several
non verbal
questions
and wolf whistled
now
and again

he seemed
healthy enough
if somewhat
disheveled
and unkempt

that night
we covered
the cage
with his favorite
blanket

another
smelly remnant
of his former
life

~

the next
day
a new cage
was constructed
and the old guy
was let out
to roam
with the other
bird

he sat
on top of his
condemned home
before flapping
over
to the other's
abode
and sampling
some its
food

he even had
some shoulder time
before being
transferred
into his new digs
containing
the salvageable articles
of his old possessions
along with
some new toys
and healthier
food

he seemed
unsure
clinging
to the bars
unable to understand
that there were
perfectly good
resting places
to be had

he clawed
and beaked
his way around
two complete circuits
of the larger space
before finally
brushing
his tail feathers
against a perch
and carefully making
a transfer
to the fake
branch

he centered
himself
and froze
there

hours later
when we went
to cover him
he was still
in the same
position

food
and water
apparently
untouched

another cup
of nutritional variety
was placed
in a different
location
after being
held up to him
to display
the contents

he quietly
chortled
and whistled
once
as we told
him
goodnight

~

the next
morning
he was leaning
precariously
at the bottom
of the cage
breathing
rapidly
feathers askew

the vet
said
that with a bird
that age
that any change
could be too
much

it seemed
so ridiculous
after seeing him
wander about
so surely

so happily

the day before

the doc
tried a few
different methods
to get him
to eat
or drink
to no avail

he was
euthanized
and we went
home

so
damned
sad

~

we like
to think
that we gave
him
some quality time
that he otherwise
would not
have had

who knows
how long
he would've lasted
in his old
filthy environs

weeks

months

perhaps years

who can know?

I know
that he lasted
only two days
in ours

we tried
to do
the right thing
but felt
like killers
instead

on the
human scale
of disasters
this doesn't
even flicker
the needle

but
in our house
it was definitely darker
than usual
that night