I Don’t Know Why the Caged Bird Fails

May 22, 2010

I Don’t Know Why the Caged Bird Fails
by Erin Kilmer

my parents stopped one night
randomly on the way back
from somewhere else

and bought a bird.

they bought a blue parakeet,
named him/her/it Charlie,
and hung the cage in Dad’s study.

i think it was a mid-life crisis.

and now, more than ten years later,
Charlie still perches
in that cage, afraid of shadows–

my parent’s paranoid parakeet.

it makes the sounds it hears–
computer-mouse clicks
and soft feeder-bird cheeps–

going crazy if you come too close.

and when we visit,
my parents point out the little bird,
gender unknown, and Mom says to the kids,

“say hello to Aunt/Uncle Charlie.”

which proves, as i have always maintained,
that my family is at least
as weird as i am.

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5 Responses to “I Don’t Know Why the Caged Bird Fails”

  1. now we know where you get it from…hehehe

  2. Melo said

    i love this bird, but you can keep him — delighted I came to see you today

  3. Glynn said

    When I was very young (like 3 or 4), my family had a blue parakeet. One day, during his cage cleaning (and it wasn’t me; I was too young), he saw the chance for escape and grabbed it. We always referred to him as a “he” but we didn’t really know.

    It was too early in my parent’s lives for a mid-life crisis. But to know them — the last thing in the world they would have brought into the house was a bird.

    This poem brought it all back. I hadn’t thought of him/her in years.

  4. I especially like the “paranoid parakeet” and these lines which could describe me during tough times…

    now, more than ten years later,
    Charlie still perches
    in that cage, afraid of shadows–

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