A different parrot

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 70th birthday.

07-04-22 Rodriguez
Reina María Rodríguez
b. 1952

Naturally, Flaubert’s parrot
could not be called Chucho,
his author wouldn’t stick him
with a name like that.
From which follows the importance of names.
But in the stories last night
—the reconstruction of a postcard
which we were creating to
resemble Christmas—
chess pieces
nearly dismembered
in the children’s hands
before midnight,
they had to pull out the parrot
with his blue half-exposed
chest feathers
and the nun who comes
when he sings
“o whore, o whore, o whore,”
and her face colors
all the way to the wine
all the way to believing herself so
—though she wasn’t—
with the pleasure of
believing herself something she is not,
shame into the alien
Is it true that after an outcry
they erupt – the things we believed ourselves to be?


The parrot Loulou “…used to descend the stairs
by setting the curve of her beak
on the steps.”
Then she disappeared forever
and her owner, Felicity, never
got over it,
or the nun either.
The family blames themselves
and they still make the sign of the cross,
for they didn’t train him to the level
of the occasion:
he was not Flaubert’s parrot
who upheld a name
with her hauteur – her meaning –
just an ordinary parrot
named, to his disadvantage,

Translation by Kristin Dykstra

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