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Still Life with Sparrows and Grandma

By Diana Manole

Sparrows loudly sparrowing

on top of each other

in the apple tree

in front of the subsidized


packed with low-income seniors

silently spared on top of each other

in their pity cells.


A honk

empties the tree

as a car, then a bus

accidentally, adamantly

roll over the distracted

refugee abuelita of four

who returns home from her son’s


about the meaning of life

and if that means anything

when foreign grandkids

love you

in a mother tongue

you can’t understand. 


The sparrows go back to the tree —

two for a penny and with the genetically

encoded submission to flock, 

they flock

flickering in low branches.


Dirt with streaks of red defers to gravity

finding its way to the gutter.

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