Pretty Bird - Alan Toltzis

We think of parrots caged, perched
solo, mechanically shuffling side to side,
heads bobbing, bowing nervously. Nothing
like the ruffling gusts of feather-green
dissonance that swarms the magnolia trees,
dot the utility lines on warm afternoons.

Some days I can’t see them but still hear
their shrill confusion infiltrates my house.
With the wild uproar these untamed
things spew, they spread not a glimmer
of gossip, start no rumors, defame
not one soul with their utterances.
No one has taught them a single word.
Pretty bird. Pretty bird. Pretty bird.

Alan Toltzis is now a Californian after spending a lifetime in the Philadelphia area, He is the author of two poetry collections—49 Aspects of Human Emotion and The Last Commandment, as well as two chapbooks—Mercy (runner up for the Moonstone Chapbook Competition) and Nature Lessons. His poems have appeared in numerous print and online publications including, NeologismHummingbirdGrey SparrowThe Wax Paper, and Black Bough. He was runner up for the Thomas Merton Award for Poetry of the Sacred. Alan is an editor for Poetica Publishing. Find him online at; follow him @ToltzisAlan.