I Picked This For You Myself

I picked this for you myself
she said
eyeing me with dinner-plate-eyes
I did not want it but
soon found I was holding it in my arms.
I went back to work and
it sat on the edge of my desk where
it stuck two fingers up at my boss and kicked its legs against the pot plants
lovingly chosen by me
now destroyed.
My boyfriend said he could not bear it
but when he asked I shook my head and said
no I could not give it back
it was out of my hands
and yet somehow
still in them.
One day my wide-eyed friend returned.
She wanted the gift back
she said.
It was her turn now
and besides
it was hers in the first place.
I handed the gift back to her.
It was bigger now and biting less than before.
I had taught it some words
and once
when it wasn't looking
I'd caught it singing.

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