Death in the Afternoon
By Valerie Muriel Mckinley
Published: October 6, 2008
Updated: October 6, 2008

Poor little sparrow.
Feathers fluffed out
eyes a glint like little brown beads
he was frozen by fear.


Adrift on the leaf littered flagstones
flight apparently impossible;
I approached quietly, cautiously.

Stock still and silent, he sat,
a single feather lifted
slightly in the winter wind.
I stooped and tenderly
scooped his tiny form into my palm.

My reward, immediate and messy.
I felt his tiny heart quicken; watched
his beak open and close soundlessly.

Gently I placed him on the bird table
out of feline harms way.
sprinkled some seed and left water
in a jam jar lid.

By dusk, his body stiff
teeny talons pointed skyward,
his winged soul already freedom flown .