Funeral For a Dead Sparrow

By Margaret McGowan

It was flaccid and motionless when Billy and I found it in the backyard, its feathers askew, looked deflated like a party balloon whose air was slowly escaping. I wished they had never called us mortal sinners, blamed the fall of man on us, said we needed to be forgiven. I am only responsible for the wreck of my hair and the offense of mixing vintage green glass vases with persimmon orange wallpaper in my bedroom. I cannot carry the transgression of a woman who lived radiantly but made one gigantic mistake.

My hair will be combed, and I will always commit tiny blunders, but they will be the width of a toothpick, the size of a fruit fly, the proportions of a salt crystal. Besides, eventually it will be discovered that Eve was a mythical being. Billy and I buried the sparrow at the base of a maple tree. We made a crucifix from two popsicle sticks fastened together with part of a shoelace, stuck it into the ground as a headstone, and said a prayer that, in its next life, the sparrow would be put back together like new.

Margaret McGowan is the self-published author of Ancestors and Other Poems (2021). She has been employed as an Adjunct Professor of English at Bryant & Stratton College. Margaret was a finalist in the 2022 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Contest and received an honorable mention in the HVWG Poetry Contest 2019. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in QU, a literary magazine, Hobart, Eunoia Review, Raw Art Review, and New Authors Journal.

Artwork by Lesley C. Weston (Direct ink and pastel digital drawing)

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