Birds, Paradise

by Kevin Krause

I must ask if you are a flower or a winged thing,
and I do not speak of angels in the boughs of a tree,

though I now glimpse your colors amidst the foliage
of central Florida, beneath a row of palms

with broad leaves raised toward heaven in the plot
abutting the stuccoed entryway to one of several

condominiums crowded along the water's edge. You
crane under the load of your crown, which explodes

from the wood-beaked bud at the terminus of your stem,
neck bent as if to listen then sing. I am certain I hear

you sing. The notes lap at my ears in the style of the gulf
coast, subtle and clear, singe with the red burn of the sun

smeared upon my chest. Above, a rustling from the palm.
A green and yellow parakeet has taken flight.

Kevin Krause is a Baltimore native and received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Baltimore. His work has appeared in Folio, Urbanite, and the Chesapeake Reader among other publications. He is the author of flora / fauna, his debut collection of poetry.

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