by Cat Weaver
Sirus died and the family came and gutted his Park Slope townhouse and they took me and my cage to their horrible Sunset Park apartment and they don’t care about me at all. They don’t know what to do with this crazy fucking cockatoo they say. They are trying to sell me. Good. I hate them.
Sirus’s nephew is a loser. Sirus told me so many times. Told me that his nephew was a few cards short of a full deck and a drunkard who couldn’t hold a job. And now I’m here, I can see for myself that it’s true.
Every night Sirus’s nephew throws a tarp over my cage so I won’t answer him back while he talks to himself. He unpacks his mind, drinking and talking to himself about defeats and failures and plans and dreams. Playing whisky tarot with that same ol’ poker deck that’s short an ace or two. You’d think the answers were all in there somewhere.
Sirus had it down. He knew his family. Then why’d he leave me with them? Sirus who loved me. Sirus who needed me. I can still smell him. Smell his kitchen and his books and his paintings and even his cat which chased me a few times and caught feathers from my tail.
In the afternoons, Sirus’s nephew pokes at his phone, often for hours on end. Looking for hope in a tiny black rectangle: typical loser human behavior. You’d think all the answers were in there somewhere. Poking. Poking.
I have begun pulling my own feathers out. They itch me. My whole body itches for release from this hell that Sirus left me in.
“Sirus?,” I venture aloud. “Sirus? Sirus? Sirus?”
This morning , Sirus’s nephew is eating while leaning over a keyboard, scrolling. Scrolling. And I can hear the spoon clicking on his teeth, the bold-faced disregard for my sensitivity, solidified with every contact. Way too intimate. I can hear the inside of his mouth.
I’m so tired of Sirus’s nephew and the inside of his mouth.
“Sirus?” I say aloud, again, hardly meaning to.
“Shuhdup!” Sirus’s nephew yells without fully swallowing the disgusting eggs Sirus’s nephew’s wife prepared before she left for work.
I’m so tired of Sirus’s nephew’s wife. She hates me. She says I smell bad. And I do. Because they give me nothing to bath in and they won’t let me out to wander and to preen myself and to shake the dust off. Because they hate me.
I pull out another feather and watch it spiral to the floor. Sirus’s nephew’s dog sniffs at it. Attempts to lick it. I pull out another and drop it onto his back.
Sirus’s nephew’s wife has taken to calling me “the bald eagle.” I hate her, so I pull out another feather. She’s a house cleaner but she never cleans the apartment. It smells like cigarettes and old grease and the skin flakes from Sirus’s nephew’s never washed sweatpants.
“Sweatpants,” I say, just to say something.
Sirus’s nephew looks up at my cage. He hasn’t heard me say anything besides Sirus.
“My nephew’s a loser,” I complain. “Short of a full deck.” I add.
Sirus’ nephew looks up at my cage again; “Well fuck ME,” he says. But his attention is pulled back to the screen when he hears a bell-like message alert.
“Looks like we have a buyer! “ He tells me, adding “You fucking filthy mother fucking crazy ass cockatoo. Fuck Sirus.”
“Fuck Sirus,” I say, sadly.
Sirus’s nephew laughs. “Fuckin’ bird,” he says, half fondly.