Sparrow palace

~ with thanks to Liz Black for the seed

I return to that chipped edifice, those tiny
doors leading to drafty corridors and
abandoned rooms, elaborate latticework
a gnawed confection crumbling

in the sun. What did I think I was in that
moldy tower if not a kind of prisoner
of love? I wove my miniature shrouds
and practiced tapping morse code

on the walls until father caught
me, or finally I tired of walking
labyrinths into the floorboards. Night
after night, from one of the rooms,

I heard mother sing “Last Song”
without irony, cupping her hands
to her breast. She kept singing even
when I refused to accompany her.

Instead I sat popping stale bits
of caramel corn into my mouth,
occasionally tossing some to pigeons
in the courtyard. In those days the doors

of my chest had not yet swung open.
There wasn’t yet a parapet on whose edge
a flickering thought could sharpen into
hunger with a body, with a pair of wings.


In response to Via Negativa: Minutiae.

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