(Ama Ata Aidoo)
by H.L. Hix
They are, but are not merely, ornamental,
those feathers from other birds that plume
the sparrows’ nest, itself both incidental
to my house and not, built under and become
one eave. The nest looks woven shut, yet
come and go the sparrows do, in a flurry
always, giving what must (they’re small) be fright
the appearance (and the noise, the burst) of joy.
Those feathers, though: one, driven-snow white, strafed
with black spots, places me either below
a flyway or in a winter range. One, leaf-
brown and mottled, proves how little I know
of above me. No pair of us is safe.
But we may build homes of feathers and straw.