Rick Campbell

EXILES



When our lives sour,
parakeets go free.
Most fall in with pigeons,
but wayward, waylaid, January ice
ends their dreams of freedom,
of finding a home.
A few work their way south
to Florida. Green as the jungle,
bright as the sun, they start
a new life in the jacarandas
and flash through orange trees.
In the white streets they meet:
yellow-head, black-hood, canary wing,
budgie, rose-ringed, orange-chin, cockatiel.
They talk of Rio, river, rainforest
as the afternoon trade winds blow
through the banyan leaves.
They conjure themselves into blue air
over Biscayne Bay, a flotilla
of God's lost souls, and dream us
singing to our children
their long song of going home.

Rick Campbell is the director of Anhinga Press and the Anhingo Prize for Poetry, and teaches English at Florida A&M University at Tallahassee Florida. His book "Setting the World in Order," winner of the Walt McDonald Prize, was published by Texas Tech University in March 2001. His most recent chapbook is "A Day's Work" (State Street Press 2000). His poems and essays have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Missouri Review, The Tampa Review, Southern Poetry Review, Puerto Del Sol, Prairie Schooner and other journals.

 

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