The Macaw in the Supermarket
by Matthew Schoesler

According the card, his name is Taj:
an asphodel macaw—not for sale.
His cage sits behind the bargain bins—
everything from wicker baskets to toys.
At first he played the stubborn oracle:
adults spoke to him in a falsetto;
the children stared awhile, then walked away,
disappointed that he didn’t talk.
He would bob his head and grab a piece of rope,
wringing it back and forth with his hornlike beak.
Now his squawks barely break up the chatter
that spreads to every corner like a mist.


Matthew Schoesler grew up around Cleveland, Ohio.  He received
an MA in Literature from the University of Toledo, and he is currently
earning a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati, where
he also teaches English Composition as a Graduate Assistant.

On “The Macaw in the Supermarket”:
The macaw in this poem is one of several that I have seen in a
Cleveland-area supermarket.  I am fascinated by the behavior of
birds, especially the behavior of ones that find themselves in
unnatural settings.  While I am often tempted to anthropomorphize
them, I always intuitively sense the mysterious otherness of their

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 2, Number 2
(Fall 2007)

Copyright © 2007
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.