After he was gone,
she looked for him to return,
perhaps as a bulldog,
a stag or tusked-boar.
She did not expect this parrot,
perched on her sill, preening
and carrying on conversation.
Flying, it seems, exhilarates him,
and he enjoys the perspective
on earthbound life. Treetops
and leaves create a kind of jazz
with riffs and bridges all their own.
He doesn’t, however,
care for mites among his feathers,
they itch. And the neighbor’s cat
has stalked him for three days now.

He perches on her shoulder
as she reads, on her chair
as she writes, and they settle
into a kind of routine.
He still drenches the bathroom
when he showers, snacks in bed,
scatters seed husks among the sheets.

Ann Howells HeadshotAnn Howells’s poetry has appeared in Calyx, Crannog (Ire), Little Patuxent Review, Magma (UK), Sentence, and Spillway, as well as other small press and university journals. She serves on the board of Dallas Poets Community and has edited Illya’s Honey since 1999recently taking it from print to digital ( Her chapbook, Black Crow in Flight, was published by Main Street Rag Publishing (2007). Another chapbook, The Rosebud Diaries, was published by Willet Press (2012). Her work has been read on NPR, she has been interviewed on the Writers Around Annapolis television show, and has twice been nominated for both a Pushcart and a Best of the Net.