Arabesqueing beside the bins
of plastic hairpins, combs, and bands,
neon pink and blue parakeets in pairs
delicately fluff and dance.
Throughout the long caged days
measured out in ebbs and flows—
the midday rush, the after-dinner slump,
the clumps of the curious—
these day-glo birds spend endless
hours on each fluorescent vane.
To locate mirrors, those mirrors
in the photo box in back,
teenaged girls rush past the preeners’
constant game of coo and peck.
All day long they puff out chests,
mock pouches of virility,
display leathery, atrophied legs, eye
the passersby, and kiss another on the beak.
Lip to lip, mother-of-pearl.
With fat tongues they hook
and speak the language of parakeets.
And when asleep, beside coffers
piled with pink barrettes, loose netting,
aerosols, each feels the endless
sky, and a rash, intemperate call.