my uncle’s parrot
                        did this dip,
                                    a dance,
dropped her neck
like each bite
            she took was what
was due,
like she should
be paid
            for living in a cage.

I try to tell Mrs. C. that someone
should write a book about that bird,
that dance,
             that dip,
and she belly laughs as we continue
reading about Wilbur the pig, survival
in the barn, and Charlotte the spider
that lived on a web by the door, how
she warned the pig when it got close
that death would be close to the door.

I wanted to tell Mrs. C. that my uncle’s
parrot has a dance for death too, that she
doesn’t warn when it comes but that she
flaps                her wings
                                                after it leaves,
that she makes
             this wind that carries
                        dirt into your eyes, that
I saw her build gusts so strong that they
could knock down barns.

By the time we reach
                                    the last page,
the spider is gone. I say, Mrs. C.,
if the parrot had been Charlotte,
                        she would
                                    still be flapping, she
would have ripped
                        the flap off the book
if only she had lived
inside the pages,

but Mrs. C. just tells me that I’m missing
the symbols, but she’s missing how I’m just
missing the cousins
            whose bodies are cold,
                        how they used to dance.