HomeSouthern VoiceA Blur of White

A Blur of White

by Ronnie Sirmans
 
The albino brown thrasher is back.
Its sepia beak and its pink feet
are the only parts with color (other
than the black eyes, which I’d thought
would be pink). My neighbors likely
don’t even know this is the state bird.
Even though we both reside in Georgia,
the albino surely doesn’t know it either.
 
I rush to take a picture, but it blurs
as the thrasher alights away, looking
like a small ghost among low tree limbs
or like a so sheer curtain on the lam,
or maybe a small white plastic bag
made even cheaper emptied of contents.
 
I post the picture online on my home page,
and someone replies it’s a white parakeet.
But, I type, this was out living in nature.
There are wild parakeets in the South,
I learn, but their appearances now seem
as surprising as a love note handwritten
instead of texted or emailed, as a delivery
from the dead when you’re notified by
a forgotten relative’s executor, as shocking
as phalanges found in a bowl of chicken soup.
 
I also discover Alma Percett died recently.
She was the last living person, the obituary
says, to see a real live Carolina parakeet.
A very young girl, she saw the colorful bird
at the zoo in Cincinnati before its demise,
the last of its kind to go, during World War I.
Now so much color has been lost around us,
a blur of white from our window enthralls.
 
Ronnie Sirmans is a metro Atlanta newspaper journalist whose poems have appeared in Tar River Poetry, The South Carolina Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Light, The Museum of Americana, Third Wednesday and elsewhere. His poem “Rizpah to the Rescue” appeared in Deep South Magazine during National Poetry Month 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @RonSirmans.

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