So this is what parrots become
when they let themselves go,
allow excess to roost in their souls –

breasts in sunglasses-strength saffron;
blue wings an untidy archive of
noon to first star; old-jewellery-box

tarnish on ragged wedding train.
Huddled in nit-picking love
they touch beak-coloured tongues;

drape swathes of plumage against
each other; in amplified propinquity,
air pinions twitchy as radar.

Jesters more than saints, yet
at times a piercing probity,
the hint of immutable intentions.

Near dusk, a royal progress from perch
to sequestered cage – mobile bric-a-brac
colonising a Victorian parlour

with shrieks that could wake the dead,
or scold them back to sleep:
this gorgeous waddling into the dark,

the light on their feathers undressed by it,
zebra-lidded eyes noting you,
the exotic, without condescension;

wisely adapted, fantastically sane,
lacking only a rainforest.