Mark Pawlak

Passer domesticus: Mark Pawlak

ciae meae puellae, –Catullus2

Perched outside my window

on an ice-glazed limb

two plump sparrows without necks,

waiting out winter.

*

Among all the birds at my feeder

only sparrows comes to dine,

wearing bibs

tucked into their collars.

*

Not the downy woodpecker,

but rather sparrows woke me,

tapping at my window to complain

that the feeder’s empty

*

Sparrows mid-air, fluttering wings,

waiting in a holding pattern

for a turn at the feeder:

Passer domesticus traffic control.

*

Pull up the sheet, cover your nakedness!

No, it isn’t the neighbor this time

smoking outside again on his back porch;

it’s sparrows on the windowsill, gawking.

*

One, two, three, four, five,

six sparrows crowding my feeder;

six versions

of the same poem

* * *

From Reconnaissance: New and Selected Poems and Poetic Diaries, 2016 Hanging Loose Press, Mark Pawlak is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently “Reconnaissance: New and Selected Poems and Poetic Journals.” He lives in Cambridge, Mass.