The Sparrow-God


You have seen the macaw’s splendor

of crimson and indigo
or the snow-white cockatoo’s crest
raised to question your entrance.
You can’t miss the cardinal’s red coat
or his mate in pale orange and grey,
your brief intake of breath your homage
to a master painter.

Hardly seen, the little sparrow. So common

on streets, in parks, hopping for crumbs
from the lunch bags of office workers
as they laugh and sparkle near the carousel.
But the garden shows off brown against
roses flashing yellow,
the earth’s raw umber, tan, sienna, russet,
scraps left-over from other work.

The pigeons bring news. The sparrow-god

drags her bag all over the city,
stops to knit sparrows from fragments,
a bag lady resting on sidewalks,
designs patterns of patchwork,
then flings them into the blue.

Jacqueline de Weever