The organization (the host), paid a nice lump of colorful Argentine Peso cash for the students’ (the honored guests), volunteers’ and staff ’s (the marginal guests) accommodations: the steel bars, the security guard (another marginal guest) with his store-bought as opposed to state-issued uniform, the lucrative religious center (the secondary host) haunted with the ghosts of its history (even more marginal guests). Despite my uneasiness, the student exchange program (the first host, again) commenced, as most events eventually must. A composite of 14 nationalities (the honored guests, again), 9 shared meals, 8 educational sessions, ages varying between 14 to 54, varied geographic placements in Argentina ranging from Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego, to La Quiaca, Jujuy, two sexes, sexual preferences unknown, religious affiliations unidentified, and political devotion ambiguous I set out beyond the trees for some proverbial fresh air. From my window back at the sleeping corridor I noticed the monk parakeets flittering around in the back garden. As soon as I had passed through the trees where I had seen the birds, I accosted two of them. I (one marginal guest) blame my personal behavioral on the 56 adolescents (the honored guests) back in the “wifi corridor.” In regards to the nomenclature of the quaint parrots, I prefer Quaker parrot to monk parakeet. Science prefers Myiopsitta monachus monachus. Redundancy; it bores me as quickly as the three pillars of culture will bore the 56 students in their first session.
|Colored pencil drawing by the artist Robin Zebley|
Browse her work here
Bedridden to the burial grounds, terminal.
The Australian Mother Superiors
are faithfully sequenced by date.
Not the date of their return to the Southern Cone,
but of their departure.
All virgins, local, some sterile, all devout.
Earth pocked by marble plaques,
Saprophages feeding for decades
on sweet sacrilegious carrion.
They were not plain sisters,
not blood sisters,
The sharp green plumage of the Argentine parrot
disrupts my cataloguing.
Might we not posthumously
smell the damp dirt?
Of all the redundancies, who forgot to introduce me to Myiopsitta
monachus monachus? Hark! The jovial redundancy.
Suppose the mother superiors as my faculty. They would have taught
with pious rigor. Still, there would have been no taxonomy of the parrot.
If only the damp earth could tell me more. If it could confirm to
me that the remains of these sisters were the key ingredients to the
composition of the dirt beneath my feet.
If only I could agree with myself! Hear me clearly, sisters.
You are the eternal guests. I am still transitory.