My mother collected antique birdcages. Nature abhors a vacuum
so we filled the cages, first with budgerigars and canaries. They died
and we filled the cages again, with exotic finches that my father chose
and a pair of lovebirds (that detested one another). They died
and we filled the cages again with a grey-cheeked parakeet and a long-
tailed beauty (that didn’t live a year and had the solemnity of a widow).
My father vacuumed the floor beneath the cages and the parakeet
shrieked, shrieked, shrieked: “Abhor! Abhor! Abhor!” My father died
and we didn’t fill the cages again. We moved, we put the cages
in storage, we moved, we put the cages in the basement. We filled
the basement with other things and discarded the cages. I saw a cage
in the canal: the canal had filled the cage with silt and branches.
The water slapped slapped slapped:
Abhor. Abhor. Abhor.
Arden Levine lives in Brooklyn and is a reader for Epiphany. In 2015, her poems have been or will be featured in AGNI, Rattle, The Delmarva Review, Bodega Magazine, Emotive Fruition, the NYC Poetry Festival, and elsewhere. Arden holds an MPA from New York University and consults to nonprofit organizations.