The Spix Macaw


Your giant, dusky blue body, ghostly in the twilight
Against giant palm trees,
You alight on one,
Ruffle your feathers and peer
Into the gathering gloom.
You were the last pair of wild Spix Macaws in the rain forest.

Now you are the only one.
The rest plucked from nesting cavities over the years,
Reside in the gilded cages
Of connoisseurs throughout the world.

What is it like for you alone?
Do you eat your palm nuts alone?
Do you carve a nest cavity each year
For fledglings who will never be born?

Who do you preen at night?
Who helps you preen your head
Where you cannot reach?
When other species of Macaw fly
Daily to the clay cliffs to eat clay,
Do you join them?

At dawn and dusk, when you call for companionship,
Who answers?

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This Poems Story

I read of the plight of the Spix Macaw in 1996 and was struck by the greed and arrogance leading to the birds' elimination from its Brazilian home. I was haunted by the idea of a lone bird and the mad scrambling that ensued in which scientists bought back pet Spix Macaws in order to breed them back from extinction. These sociable birds are kept apart in several breeding centers throughout the world so that a natural disaster doesn't wipe out the species. There are sixty-eight breeding pairs as of two months ago. Hopefully my poem can help them.