This poem was written outside the fishbowl sessions. It was inspired by a comment that rhodielady_47 left under my poem "The Wingdresser's Kitchen." It has been sponsored by Shirley Barrette. Visit the Serial Poetry page to find more poems in the Fledgling Grace series.
Browse the birds: 'i'iwi bird, blue bird-of-paradise, dove, indigo macaw, Jardine's parrot, onagadori, peacock, and red-winged blackbird. You can also read about the Hawai'ian phrase "poi dog," the Yazidi and their peacock angel.
For a while it seemed that the Fledging
gave each person the wings and tail
of a single bird, most often based
on their ancestry, but more occasionally
based on religion or other subtle factors.
Then came word of a young man
who lived in Hawai'i and was
what the locals called a "poi dog" --
someone of mixed heritage with
ancestors from at least four different sources.
He had white dove wings from England,
with green Jardine's parrot secondaries from Africa on the left
capped in the scarlet coverts of a 'i'iwi from Hawai'i,
and indigo macaw primaries from Brazil on the right
capped like a red-winged blackbird from America.
He had the long, curling tail feathers
of a black-breasted golden onagadori from Japan,
bracketed by the twin plumes
of a blue bird-of-paradise from New Guinea,
and in the center a few peacock eyes from Iraq.
No one knew why this had happened,
so they speculated --
perhaps it required an equal mix,
perhaps there was some minimum threshold
of contributing ancestors.
The young man flared his flamboyant wings,
their colors as jumbled as Joseph's coat,
and offered his own opinion:
"I've always been proud of being a poi dog.
Maybe that's what it takes."