Maddy lived uphill on Toklas lane,
she lived comfortably with her past gain.
We met her downtown at a coffee stop
when she was taking a break from a shop.
Through the crowd a waitress served our coffee,
Maddy preferred to have a cup of tea.
Over steaming hot brew she shared her life,
so many long years she spent as a wife.
Her years in Paris before the war,
how they were fed even though they were poor.
A loaf of bread for a poem she said,
a glass of wine for a story she read.
These were the memories of Montparnasse,
her memories of art, her memories of loss.
Stories of war and stories of place,
it was hard for my friend and I to pace.
After we decided to buy a gift,
two Cockatoos without the heart to lift.
Located among the kittens and pups
sipping their cold water from yellow cups.
With cage in hand we journeyed to her home,
zig-zag trails with Ceanothus bloom.
The smell of Honeysuckle in the air,
under each tree a bench where couples share.
To Maddy’s home a Victorian rise,
to deliver to Maddy our new prize.
Where she smiled and accepted the two birds
and left us with a cocktail of her words.
Soon this deed got out to all Maddy’s friends,
suddenly Parrots and Budgies were trends.
Maddy found herself with African Greys,
Cockatiels, a Macaw, and other strays.
She built an aviary in her house
all from this meeting at the coffee house.
An Aviary where each Parrot’s red
reflected onto the pantry and bed.
She took care of them and lived a long time,
always happy beyond her youth and prime.
Through the years she was cushioned by bird’s wing,
woken daily when the Budgies would sing.
I saw her once more when she was quite old,
“Well,” she whispered in bed, “the truth be told
I never liked Cockatoos, really birds.”
We laughed at the humor of her last words.