Res­cued Par­rots Used in PTSD Ther­apy

The Iowa Review - - KAREN SKOLFIELD -

Be­fore Seren­ity Park th­ese birds self-mu­ti­lated: feath­er­pluck, blood­beak, bro­ken. Through the com­pound a vet­eran runs the dam­aged birds: You’re fly­ing! You’re fly­ing! Though this lori­keet will never fly again, tan­gle of bird­skin and buz­z­saw, it flaps as if com­plicit in the ruse. A marine lines with bat­tered birds his wheel­chair. The tank gun­ner an ex­pert on sun­flower seeds given from lips to curv­ing beaks. The par­rots know who’s who and have their fa­vorites. One loves a sailor. A macaw sings only for Jim. The sul­fur-crested cock­a­too chooses the he­li­copter pi­lot: Never has a bird let me down. One par­rot spends each morn­ing yelling Shut up or else! in the only cage the vets won’t ap­proach be­fore noon. Th­ese birds are hurt­ing, Matt says, his good arm sweep­ing the whole of the park. Some vets won’t talk un­less a bird’s close by. Some clean the aviary, weep­ing. Some par­rots can’t be with another bird, con­sider them­selves hu­man, or near enough.

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