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Yvette Doss


If only I could stop
Wanting it all
I would awake at dawn
Sit on unforgiving and icy floors
Count my breath for hours
Chase out impure thoughts
Drive away jealousy, insecurity, need
Listen, with no opinion,
To the incessant, chattering wild parrots
That cackle so loudly
Outside my window
Day and night
Without fail,
Disrupting my concentration,
My clumsy attempts at meditation.
They say the first of them
Escaped from a pet shop
That was ablaze.
Survivors, their ancestors were.
They say they number in the thousands now,
In this temperate part of Southern California,
The lime green and yellow creatures.
If only I could experience them
With no thought of quieting
Their infuriating discord, of
Chasing them away
To someone else’s neighborhood.
If only
I could.
If only I could stop
To be loved
To feel cherished.
I would open my window
And invite the parrots in
For a snack
Of bread crumbs
And sunflower seeds.
I would be gracious.
I would.
I might even straddle the windowsill
Take to the air
With them,
Open my mouth wide
To contribute
to the collective din,
spread my arms,
and fly.


Discombobulated owl, upon awakening at dusk
and spotting Hawk above
climbing clouds and scaling streaked skies,
fierce and glorious, swift and spry,
put his wings together and prayed
for a wider span, heightened speed,
a life vaster, larger, better.

But then, upon spying dun-colored Mole
down below, eyes crossed and useless,
nosespray whiskers guiding him, lumbering,
home to damp dark earthworm dens below,
tunnels tight, cramped, chilled,
morsels of moist grubs waiting,
put his wings together and prayed
to give thanks for the eyes on his wide owl face
that allow him to watch Hawk
cavorting in skies crimsoned by the setting sun.

Yvette Doss is a graduate student in the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of California at Riverside. Her non-fiction and essay writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Ms. Magazine, the San Jose Mercury News, and on NPR radio. She has poems forthcoming in Wild Goose Poetry Review, Chantarelle's Notebook, and Brooklyn & Boyle.