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  • Writer's pictureAnne Mitchell

Burung Watching

Once, in a flower market in Jakarta,

surrounded by intoxicant hues,

perfumed in frangipani,

among mounds of rose petal baskets,

I found a seller of birds,

his cage stuffed with shimmering

yellow, easily a hundred tropical finches

clamoring to sing, flapping against rattan

for an escape into a murmuration like starlings.

I gave the man some rupiah,

about a penny a piece,

and in his toothless, betel nut red

stained smile,

he likely took me as gila gila -

a little off - as I unlatched the door

and watched them fly over

the tuberoses into the morning smog

of Central Java.


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