Mar 072011

by Steve De France

A dappled brown sparrow rests

on a kitchen towel. Neither young nor old

but of some indeterminate age.

Death would not be your first thought

but her breathing comes in short spurts of life,

her feathers ripple as if in a wind, yet the air is still.

She can neither sit nor stand but tilts dangerously

as if taking a curve in the road

or making a steep skyward sparrow-bank,

one that bends time and slides on wind currents

in some larger sky. I press the towel to prop her up.

For a moment she looks at me, not afraid

but with assessment.

Buttressed by the towel she can not

tilt to either side, so she falls backward

her head inclines sharply

wings extended high

eyes looking out from some

parallel sparrow universe

some place knowable only to birds.

Startled by a sudden wind gust

blackbirds swirl in expanding circles

their shadows marking the edges

of hemlock trees. Through the sun

it begins to rain.