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Image by Deb Dowd

Great Escape

The escaped parrots gather

in our Black Olive tree, 

grown old, feathers molting,

too tired now to fly further south. 

They squawk about pollycrackers 

and sometimes utter strange

obscenities to the setting sun.


They hiss at my dog,

jump one branch higher, days 

I venture too close to the tree.


I wonder if they tap

into archetypes, dream

about steamy jungles, 

roaring tigers 

and chest-thumping gorillas 

before two-legged predators 

caged their land—


or do they dream 

of small faces pressed 

in wonder at the green 

and gold feathers

chained to a perch

before their escape 

by way of a night watchman,

bored and a bit tipsy,

with a yearning

to see wild things fly free.

Image by Mikhail Pavstyuk

The poems of Pris Campbell have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. The Small Press has published twelve collections of her poetry. All In, with Scott Owens, comes out June 2023.

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