Sparrow in the School – a poem by Abigail Myers

Sparrow in the School

Daughter, I see you
in the barren corridor, 
frozen and pulsing: 
too shamed for shelter,
too hungry to pray.
A pale sparrow, 
far from home and too
afraid to sing, careers
from wall to wall.

Truly I tell you that
not one of these will flutter
madly tiny, dirty wings between
the red Exit in its wire
cage and the counselor’s door without
the knowledge of your Mother
in heaven—

but a spear shall pierce
your own heart also, for you
cannot teach a house sparrow,
two they are for a penny.
You cannot point, helpless, toward
the door opening on to the
courtyard, cannot offer
the false grass, the smogged sky.

And the sparrow beats her wings,
panicked, bereft, four hundred sixty
thumps a desolate minute.
Know you not that
I see you also, between the
red Exit and the world,
your own blood hard, fast,
a cage around your softness,
teeth and tongue in your mouth?

Say to me, daughter:
I have shattered my wings
from flying to nowhere.
I need an egress, a nest.
Mother, give me more sense
than a sparrow.  Lead me out
and the bird may follow.

And I will take you in my hand.
I will set you against
the sky and array you in lilies.
I will hold your humming heart
near mine, still aflame for you
and your broken world, 
red as an Exit, 
pure as a sparrow
flown, spent, finally, home.

Abigail Myers lives on the South Shore of Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats.  She has published essays in the Blackwell Philosophy and Popular Culture series and offers poetry, fiction, and nonfiction on spirituality and art at

1 Comment

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s