The Companion

She hasn’t been herself for days.
After he left,
She bought a parakeet and let him live on the piano.
She pounded life into the keys, the melodic vibrations
rattled the metal of its cage, and fed him music notes.
She stopped drinking coffee because
it made her dream in oil paintings:
a grassy knoll, a slick pool of water, sprouting dandelions,
the curvature of an old man’s spine, a scream.
As if splashed with small tosses of water,
the images became increasingly muddled in the nightmare.
Morning after morning, she’d wake into paranoia,
pat down the empty bed and find he was missing.
She would breathe heavily on the edge of the mattress,
drowning in the memory of that afternoon.
His limbs and the rapids both white
and thrashing, her cries echoed over
the desolate river bank surrounding them.
She held his flannel coat around her
on the way to the grocery.
Her fingers shook, as she pinched the zipper
and spilled out a copper constellation.
“I have to feed my bird,” she said to the cashier.
Finally at home
her songbird companion closed its eyes,
bowed respectably, holding her finger in its feet.
"The Companion" won First Place in the Second Division of the 2010
Kent County Poetry Contest and first appeared in Voices, the literary
magazine that annually publishes the contest winners.

Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.