Illustrations by Catherine Kwon

Yesterday, I found a dead sparrow with
no legs, stump body left on Whitney street.
Dirt-dry bird casting radius of filth:
side-steps, side-eyes, meat hung neatly in heat.
Summer maggots in the eye—rotting breast,
larvae in the chest. The pitter-patter,
soft twittering of hatchlings in the nest,
quiets into closed eyes. Devastations.
A realization, a mother’s last breath.
Gilded wings by goldsmith hands, a weeping,
belly-up, bent, beaten, sun-boiled life—
Still. How lightly they fold for safekeeping.
She is wing-skirted and small-beaked. If I
listen: wind is whistling through her bones.