A Fluttering

by Marissa Ahmadkhani

                    I had seen birth and death but had thought
they were different.
                    -T.S. Eliot

We side-stepped peaches half-buried in dirt
while you told me about the sparrows
that nested in your backyard last spring.
How one morning, you found one fallen,
its smallness outlined in your palm,
bones still malleable, matted in dark blood.  

I stared at your hands twitching towards mine,
imagining tiny feathers falling from your fingertips,
while the smell of spoiled fruit filled the air.


Bay Area native Marissa Ahmadkhani is a poet. A Best of the Net nominee, she has writing published or forthcoming in Radar Poetry, Cosmonauts Avenue, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Southern Indiana Review, the minnesota review, The West Review, The Journal, and poets.org, where she received the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2015 and 2017. Currently, teaches at UC Irvine and serves as Assistant Editor for The West Review.

Image: Coxcomb and Sparrow by Endô Kyôzô, Clarence Buckingham Collection, Art Institute Chicago