Whistle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

May 13, 2010
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I loved their plumage and crowns
the outline they made against the Australian sky
(a clean silhouette was more beautiful than a photograph)
but most of all, their shrill whistle
for the idea of alien liberation.
At eleven, I bought a bird and brought him home
and it wasn't long before his whistle referenced my name.
Even when I brought him a companion, gave him dry millet,

caged him, ignored him,
he never stopped calling me
and would scramble up his wired wall
to nuzzle at my hand.
My braces came off, and I sang

thank god
remembering how to breathe and speak
but needed a reminder: “Finally you can whistle again.”
I could trill; I could make hands cover ears;
I could teach you to be a warbler, wren, or phoebe
I could even calm the woman
who used to breathe in my mother's face, prompted by her muddled mind,
and whisper:

“whist-el. whist-el.”
I've never loved gems.
Something so rough and gorgeous feels wrong polished on my hand
but I'll pin my favorite sort of beauty

(I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I wouldn't do it now)
as long as I'm contained, too.
But what to do when, finally,

I can whistle again?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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