Carmela’s Bird Blues


Carmela’s birds’ blues


“You know what,

two of the birds just died

mi doli propriu u cori, amariceddi

(I can’t tell you I sorry I feel, poor things)”


“Did the frost kill them?”


“No, they’d made it through

the frost

and then I went and fed them

some lettuce.


You know, I made a salad

and used the inside leaves for us,

washed and dried the ones outside,

(as I used to do all the time)

and gave it to them.

Some of the birds didn’t want them,

but Gina and the canary ate them.

Next morning  I found them

belly up dead.

Cu sapi quanti porcherii ci mentunu

(who knows what kind of crap they put on it).

It was so sad…… the canary

had just started to sing,

and I can’t get another one

‘cause now they cost 90 dollars.”


She told me this

almost blushing,

like it wasn’t important enough

for her daughter with lotssa education

who wrote and taught things she didn’t understand

and argued until she stuttered

about things that seemed extreme.


This she told me as we walked

through velvet green hills

on a path snaking away from the street

where 100 Sunday hikers parked their cars,

winding away from the wounds inflicted on the hills

where every day 1000s of tons of rock were drained

and turned into cement and gravel

for other cars to drive on.