January, 2010 – The Parrot-Ox


Winner of the Goodreads December 2009 Poetry Contest

Jane Ellen Glasser
Jane Ellen Glasser





The Parrot-Ox



The parrot-ox

is clearly confused,

as evidently

so were his parents.


Being both heavy and light,

he can neither

fly nor root,

which makes his life


a kind of hovering

between two things

that cross each other out.

All play is work,


all drudgery is sport,

and so he spends his days

busily doing nothing,

circling square


fields of thought

like a practical idealist.

At night he holds forth

in a neighborhood bar


in his undertakers suit

and Indian headdress.

He drinks to sober up

and tell again


the sad joke

of how we die at birth

into opposites.

And then he laughs


till he cries and cries

till he laughs,

sorrow and joy

mixing it up in his blood.


–Jane Ellen Glasser. All Rights Reserved.



Jane Ellen Glasser’s works have been published in the Hudson Review, the Georgia Review, and the Southern Review. Her second book, Light Persists, won the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry in 2005.