Sparrow Sculpture
Inside the rust of the dilapidated machines,
where the sun scars the grass into paper,

a sparrow remakes from bone
and iron-shards, the hands of men.

An assembly line is a collage
of well-ordered gestures, perfected

mimicry, a rhythm collapsing
against itself. And the sun

is melting the city—brick by brick.
Its rays a form of blur

on the sparrow's wings, stripping
away the plumage to reveal

the cartilage, like a weight-obsessed
teenager, running through the city's

twisting gulleys at dawn, ignoring
the dangers of the raven-black emptiness

that envelops the sleeping porches. A
group of women in uninterrupted white

in the middle of the street: wailing
in loud chants, tearless. Across the metro-station,

in an unnamed alleyway, another woman
refuses to shut her door. A path ajar

for her son to walk in. Without
having to be stopped by the rituals

of knocking. Knocking and waiting
for someone else to unbolt. Only

he was killed—encountered, four
decades and half ago. His bones

scattered in this estuary indistinguishable
from conch-shells that pebble

our paths to distraction. The sparrow
keeps count of each of its falling

feathers, bends its neck to spot
through the shadows of cigarette smoke,

its limbs morphing into a kind
of terracotta. A meticulous carving,

in whose catacombs
the sparrow will excavate

a neon-light map. A sliver
of glass inside the sparrow's

mouth, a broken light bulb, a furcated
tongue—the sparrow is learning

to render otiose the morning-whistle,
the dust raised by the sound

of the several feet marching
daily towards complicit labor, while

in a city thousands of miles away,
a soldier's pellet gun, shot

in our names, blinds a fourteen-year
old girl. What rages through

this city is the opposite of storm­—a
silence growling louder and louder.

Inside the abandoned factory-yard,
a laid-off worker splits open

the photographer-girl: an
inheritance of an incompetent rage

against anything that makes
suffering beautiful. In a house

in another neighborhood
across the city, a couple

is sitting down to dinner. The
meaningless jokes they will share,

is no compensation
for the certitude with which

they disagree with each other, yet
does not dare to break apart.
Copyright © 2004–2023 Memorious