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The Feathers?

  (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.

    Mantis 13

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