The Emerald Parrot

by Alice L. Gregory

Some say dismissively a bird is just a bird
a pretty decoration, a pet of little worth.

Not knowing this, the small green parrot
with large dark eyes studied the world
beyond his open cage.

After chemo scalped me, Oz fell
from his perch in shock, unused to a
bald creature calling to him in my voice.

When toxins rendered me listless
he wove food into my shirt and plucked
his brilliant feathers in distress.

One by one the iridescent tokens
floated down.

Alice Gregory retired to Western North Carolina in 2000 after a long career in medical record administration and in teaching. She is now pursuing her interests in art collecting, writing, and gardening.

About The Emerald Parrot—Shortly after moving to Asheville, North Carolina, I underwent chemo and radiation for cancer. My intelligent and devoted Eclectus parrot Oz did his best to comfort me and keep me fed (bird food) during my recovery. He is now seventeen years old and happy with his “normal life.” His beautiful feathers have grown back.