Read Poem: The Parrot Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight , by Mikki MENDELSOHN

We were on our honeymoon
a cruise to the Caribbean away from the January cold.
We did what new couples do, only Fred got stuck
in the bathroom from a door that refused to budge.

Sitting one dinner with a couple from Queens, N.Y.,
they were delighted with my fluency in Hebrew.
Having purchased a 30 year old parrot from Israelis
who decided to return before another war,
a parrot who spoke non-stop.

He’d shake his head, squawk and talk, ruffle his
bright blue feathers and jump from perch to perch.
He was frustrated no one answered him.
Polly, want a cracker, was not in his repertoire.

He spoke Hebrew with a perfect Sabra accent,
showing off his years-in-training speaking skills.
The wife reached in her ship-acquired tote bag
unfolding a crumpled up sheet of legal paper.

I looked at the transliterated letters, horribly misspelled,
and laughed so hard and long I nearly fell off the proverbial chair.
I couldn’t stop and feared I was making a scene in the plush
too-fancy-for-me dining room. What’s so funny?

This highfalutin screechy bird had a potty mouth in Hebrew
and Arabic! Balls, balls, balls to you—you hear?
He scratched himself appropriately, pace back and forth,
raise his head and say the worst curses ever.

Fuck your mother, fuck your sister, he said in Arabic,
Go away you Arab, die!. We’ll get you, we’ll get you…
No one thought it funny (but me). All their friends
hounded them about what he kept repeating,
but then he sang Hava Nagila and all was forgiven.


Author: poetryfest

Submit your Poetry to the Festival. Three Options: 1) To post. 2) To have performed by an actor 3) To be made into a film.

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