Death and the Red Parrot
inspired by Andrew Jack
See before you now not a man, but a young child
Full of wonder as he sees a glimpse of the wild.
Birds, great cats, snakes and more as he walks
Barely listening to the keeper as she talks.
He sees not the cages, the glassed in walls
Inside his mind, a brighter, living image calls.
His heart is alive with a desperate beating
His imagination flows, time will show it is not fleeting.
His face is bright. The images alive as they form inside
His great mind. His feet keep moving, one in a slide,
As he drags his feet when the teacher says time to go.
He's staring intently at the great bird as it moves to and fro.
His eyes, wide, he stares intently at the one great red.
It catches the stare and slightly turns its feathered head.
Time stood on its axis for our young Aaron, though he later doubts,
As the bird and him took turns, neither one hearing the shouts.
The years crawl by and our young Aaron never forgets
The day at the zoo with the animals, especially the parrots.
He grows up strong, resplendent in body and mind.
In his heart, he remains, truthful, just and kind.
He meets his love, her blue eyes, and honeyed colored hair
Turn him into a poet, as he wants to claim her with beauty and flare.
His love is strong; his pursuit is mighty. He knows she is the one.
He gets her to laugh, to cry, to be his wife. Her love, he has won.
His joy is complete when she births to him, one son, one daughter.
He knows not of the impending sorrow, the soon to happen slaughter.
That Death has rubbed his hands in glee, seeing Aaron's complete
Love, seeing him so happy. Thru sun, rain, ice and sleet
Their family loves, from the depths of their hearts,
Not seeing the day from each other they will depart.
Death remembers young Aaron well, for he looked
Out, from a sick bird's eyes, saw purity of soul and was hooked.
Death's soul has long been charred, burned, bloody, and scarred.
His original mission of accompanying the lost has been marred.
He started out pure, but after time, the soul is no longer clean.
Giving in to the power, his lust, his greed, makes him mean.
Throughout the years, death has looked upon the boy.
Looking through the eyes of the birds, Death remained coy.
He wanted to damage the man. Marr the soul, make it black.
Show the world, that once love is gone, there is no getting it back.
So here and there, as time moved inexorably forward,
The family's red parrot became a way to watch, to speak the odd word.
To penetrate Aaron's mind, to start him along the murky walk.
Grooming him for the time when together they would talk.
The day finally comes when Death no longer has to wait.
He stands by and watches as the family goes through their dark fate.
Aaron is gone, happily at work. Earning money so his family
Could live in peace in the world's depressing economy.
He has no inkling of what he will eventually find.
The blood is spattered all over the walls, leaving none behind.
Death is eager for the young boy turned man to come home.
Eager to see someone with the same pain be left alone to roam.
He stays inside the blood soaked room, waiting, waiting.
Gathering the souls to him, the feeling of life fleeting.
He closes his eyes as he feasts on their beauty
Knowing that he is failing, still he refuses to do his duty.
Aaron comes home, laughing and calling "I'm home! I'm here!"
Puts his briefcase down then faces the room. He grips the wall in fear
As his eyes roam over the beloved bodies of his family.
His soul's tears start deep within, the bird watches him cagily.
For the bird can see the specter of Death and knows him.
He's seen him before. Haunting, bringing chill, leaving the house grim.
Aaron cries out and falls to his knees, trying to scream out his pain
But for all his troubles and emotions, his voice finds no gain.
He fumbles in his pocket for the phone, for help he calls.
The pain inside is deep, it can't be contained within the four walls.
He gets up and staggers outside, waiting to take more inside.
Inside where blood has seeped through the boards and spread wide.
His mind stirs and thinks of the bird from so long ago, the staring.
Somehow that look is akin to the one on the face of his wife, accusing, glaring.
His heart is wretched, broken, and bleeding. His soul is crying.
So caught up in his pain, he never senses Death spying.
He gets up to talk to the cops, he copes as he must
Each move on auto as he gets ready to see his family returned to dust.
He holds it together for his family and friends,
Inside he is dying, the world as he knows it suspends.
He has no wish to do anything else but this.
His life, his blood, turned to dust, gone is his bliss.
The parrot has cried when the man has been gone.
He is aware of the part Death has played to bring the pain on.
He watches with his keen eyes, as his master, his companion
Cries and makes plans for the ones whom he lost to Death's minion.
One day the man comes home, his spirit has waned away.
The power keeping him moving, has gone, life has no more sway.
He pulls out a weapon, sits down on the couch. In his hand, a gun
The bird starts to squawk. He looks sadly and pauses, remembering his son.
He opens the cage, inserts his hand, and coaxes the red bird,
To let him be held. He stroked his parrot with nary a word.
But Death is calling to Aaron. His finger he crooks, his smile wide.
The parrot is angry, wishing he could help Aaron get away, to hide.
With deep love and affection, the bird has a glimmer,
An idea has started, for a moment left to simmer.
"Cracker," he says, hoping his master will reward him,
Needing the reprieve. For hope has waned, the feeling is dim.
Aaron smiles dully, deciding to give to the beautiful parrot he loved
A cracker as a gift before facing Death and giving life a shove.
The Parrot's eyes meet Death's darkness, and for a moment,
Death is worried, but then remembers grief's torment.
Aaron comes out and says, "Cracker, my feathered friend?"
The parrot thinks I must say something, or this is the end.
"Death is near. He is like a parrot. It is on blood he feeds.
Do not ask him if he wants a cracker, because it is your soul he needs"
The man turned white, wondering if his mind has gone mad.
This bird has spoken as if he knew the gun meant the news was bad.
He looked hard at the red parrot, deep into the eyes of the bird,
Neither moving, neither speaking, seemingly absurd.
But suddenly Aaron's mind to the past it went, the thoughts they flew.
The grooming was there, if how to look you knew.
He looked over to the place his mind's eye still saw blood.
And there it was, in shadows, crusty, full of hatred, hiding behind a hood.
Death stared back at him, not believing his eyes.
It looked as if the man was saying his goodbyes.
It was a start along the path needed, for grief to get peace
And begin the healing. Death roared his anger, his rage he began to release.
But Aaron is safe now, he can see. No longer Death's pawn.
The red parrot and he, together, they stood, to greet new dawn.