Central Park Zoo: The Macaw Takes a Bath

By Fred Lape

Although Fred Lape’s poet­ry often links the human and the nat­ur­al worlds, Cen­tral Park Zoo” offers us a humor­ous and satir­i­cal view of that con­nec­tion. The poem is delight­ful­ly gos­sipy in tone, filled with bril­liant col­or and replete with some quite won­der­ful ver­bal puns.

Cen­tral Park Zoo

The macaw is fud­dled, she goes to the water,
sil­ly old bird with blue wing feath­ers,
fire red breast and an orange body,
a jet black beak and a gear shot voice

Euge­nia Dol­phin of Dal­las Texas
is spend­ing the win­ter months at the Plaza.
Six­ty, but thinks of her­self as thir­ty :
a dark of the eyes and a red of the nails,
a sky blue coat and fire red slip­pers
and a lit­tle black hat from Bon­wit Teller’s
cocked like a crest over bangs of hen­na.

Pert old bird with the gaudy feath­ers
down on her bel­ly flat in the basin
fluff­ing her wings and duck­ing her head
trick­ling the water over her shoul­ders.

Mrs. Euge­nia wan­ders shop­ping, and rain
has left its pool at the curb­stone
and there in the pud­dle after the show­er
is Mrs. Euge­ni­a’s bright reflec­tion
flat on its bel­ly over the water.

Fluff­ing her wings and scat­ter­ing water
(the bird) and my dear what a beau­ti­ful sap­phire
and do you think I should buy it real­ly
dip­ping her head and squawk­ing with plea­sure,
but it was­n’t the pud­dle along Fifth Avenue
that Mrs. Euge­nia tried to wash her­self in,
it was only the bath­room bowl at the Plaza
(guilt com­plex maybe) my dear it’s awful
with a squawk and a flirt of the feath­ers
and now the breast and now the but­tocks
(that of course has to be Mrs. Euge­nia)
and then a preen of the tail and a chor­tle
and I said it’s only a thou­sand dol­lars
and if I want it I’m going to have it
and don’t we have a good time in our puddle?


Spring 2018

Volume 36 , Number 2

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