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by Heather Quinn

i watched a fledgling sparrow fly 

from its nest to its mother

no,  let me begin again


it did not fly but landed 

at my feet after it was propelled

from the tree in front of my childhood home


by a rock thrown by a gangly boy bigger older

the tree was painted with dry pigment 

& rabbit skin glue


no, it grew of bark 

& leaf but i reconstruct

the sparrow’s slippery skin 


damp slickened feathers 

its seedling heart visible

through translucent membranes


beak snapping open & closed 

squawk with no sound

Munch’s Scream


i picked up the baby bird

held it like a damp lung in my hand

nursed it with water & seed


no, what really happened was dad

said we had to leave it or momma

sparrow would never return


we knew momma was off 

building a new nest

the O of the baby’s beak 


an alarm, until feathers

wings flattened

in shallow grass


like a fried egg

yet the sparrow lives


at my sternum, sipping 

oxygen from my windpipe 

clawing for its perch

About the Author

Heather Quinn is a poet who lives in awe of the creative spirit & its mysterious movement through each of us. She finds the current shelter-in-place restrictions an opportunity to discover old & new artistic forms, & to dig deeper into the well of collective imagination. She was a finalist in House Mountain Review's 2019 Broadside contest, a semi-finalist in Cuthroat's 2020 Joy Harjo's Poetry Prize & Prometheus Dreaming's 2019 Unbound Competition, & was featured in Palette Poetry's "Poetry We Admire" column for her poem “Shroud with Lead Wing” published in Raw Art Review. Recent publishing credits include 42 Miles Press, Cathexis Northwest Press, Ghost City Review, Headline Poetry & Press, High Shelf Press, Inkwell Press, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, & Burninghouse Press. You can find her on Instagram at @hquinnpoet.

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