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

* * *

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