Around me, the night voices and eyes recede:

glazed eyes of stalking cats, solo in arched-back shadows,

touting tales of counted lives —

and the horned owls, some older and wiser than I,

asking who, and why, in dizzying repetition.

Alone, I ponder the day’s dark moment:

misguided sparrow,

white-throated migrant of Canada

distracted by my patio door

in flight — unsuspecting victim, at once

stunned and ever silenced by its own image.

In my cupped, outstretched fingers,

I carry it to its resting place,

far beyond the fence, and nestle it just so

between the blanketing, tall blades of blue fescue.

It is barely broken, silken bearer of feathered elegance.

I shudder to think of its discovery —

of those who wait without apology to conquer,

and imagine that this — a stranger whose eyes are closed to mine —

once dreamed of such unsolicited tenderness.

Zarrillo is a freelance writer, editor and tutor. She volunteers for Deserving Decor of Bucks County — a nonprofit providing shelter makeovers for the homeless — and is co-owner of Tile Renditions. She has a M.A. in English from TCNJ and is a certified interior decorator. She is a member of 2sDay Writers, a volume of poetry inspired by testimonials of nonprofits for children.

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