I saw the rainbow flash an instant before a sharp thud shook
glass, inertia interrupted in a downward flutter.
I hurried outside to revive the small parrot, a lorikeet, cushioned
in flowerbed debris under red bottle brush and kangaroo paw.
There was no heaving of the tiny breast. I stroked iridescent
feathers, willing breath. In Dreamtime, the lorikeet flies into a rainbow
to adorn her plumage. Sometimes she is a disabled girl who dreams
of flying. Rainbow Spirit changes her into a dazzling bird.
The fallen lorikeet lies still, eyes closed. Her colorful strands are my dreams,
inertia slammed by neuroimmune disease. I’ve seen endless horizons
in all directions, but not the invisible barrier that would ground me. Gently,
I cup my hands around the injured bird, cradling lost parts of myself.
We wait, the lorikeet and I. Faint murmur of consciousness, sudden
fluff of down on skin. In a gust of wind my visitor swoops into air.
I shade my eyes to watch her ascent.
Click to hear this poem out loud.
THE LORIKEET has been previously published by Paul Brookes in The Wombwell Rainbow's Ekphrastic Challenge.
Gayle J. Greenlea is an American-Australian poet and counselor for survivors of sexual and gender-related violence. Her poem, “Wonderland”, received the Australian Poetry Prod Award in 2011. She was shortlisted and longlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2013, and debuted her first novel, Zero Gravity, at the KGB Literary Bar in Manhattan in 2016. Her work has been published in Fevers of the Mind, Headline Poetry and Press, Rebelle Society, The Wombwell Rainbow, St. Julian Press, A Time to Speak, and The Australian Health Review.