A parrot perched on the rod of a laundromat cart,
multicolored feathers bright as the fluorescent lights above.
           Its head counts those who fold and those who wait.
Islanders and tourists don sweats and sip espresso

on this chilly January afternoon. Much too cold for locals,
but I love it, as there is a perplexing deep freeze
           wreaking havoc back in the Tennessee town
where I currently live. Machines hum,

mixing with the melodic Spanish of two Caribbean women,
who I greet with buenos días, as the aroma
           of pork and plantains drifts through the shared wall
and window of Sandy’s Cuban Take-Out. As a Miami native,

I give it my stamp of approval, and I have high standards.
A sun-beaten man whistles, extends his arm,
           the parrot descends and is taken away.
Bird-less, the man returns and speaks to the woman

who washes and folds for others. Their language,
Czech or Polish, thick and consonant heavy.
          I wonder what other languages the parrot understands
besides the tongue of its caretaker. Done folding and filling my sac,

I walk out. The feathered fowl, now on a van’s side mirror,
surprises me with hello. After snapping a photo of the majestic bird,
           I whisper good-bye.


Adela M. Brito holds an MFA. Her fiction has appeared in The Acentos Review, Hieroglyph, Litbreak Magazine, Moko Magazine, and The Sandy River Review; her poetry, nonfiction, and numerous arts reviews have appeared in Novus Literary Journal, Compass Rose, Cathexis Northwest Press, Underwood, All About Jazz, Counterculture UK, and other publications.