Shall I be of the Sparrow or of the Blood Eagle?
The curve of a rose’s thorn mimics these lungs drawn
through to make two bright red wings for a small child,
a hopping hellion, hung high in the branches, left to rot.
If I am of the Sparrow, then I shall be as the Sparrow.
The Sparrow in the Evergreen, not the Eagle in the Ash.
Or the Rose in the Lozenge, rather than the Spiral in the Trumpet.
Or the Boar in the River, rather than the Skins in the Woods.
Never the Crow for its Honor, rather the Cardinal for its Hood.
These abominable wings, useless, such heavy sacs of blood.
I hate, I hate, I hate too much. How could I, fed on love,
betray a heart of hate? Watch me bow, watch me scrape.
Should I not be of the Sparrow? Low, unloved and wronged?
I am this way, not the other way: the world has made me
what I am and I have assumed the Eagle’s shape. I have not
always been of the Eagle. As the Sparrow I was of the shallow,
and the fern, the moss and the spore, the pebble and the worm.
Regan Good attended Barnard College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was a Maytag Fellow. She has held multiple residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo, The Fine Arts Work Center, Ucross, VCCA, and Ragdale. She has published two books of poems, The Atlantic House (2011), and The Needle (2020). She teaches at the Pratt School of Architecture and Barnard College. She is currently a Contributing Editor at Interim, and lives in Brooklyn.
“Sparrow’s Song” was originally published in Chemistry (TLR, Spring 2018)