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HARDWARE SPARROWS

by R. T. Smith

Out for a deadbolt, light bulbs 
and two-by-fours, I find a flock 
of sparrows safe from hawks

and weather under the roof 
of Lowe’s amazing discount 
store. They skitter from the racks

of stockpiled posts and hoses 
to a spill of winter birdseed 
on the concrete floor. How

they know to forage here, 
I can’t guess, but the automatic 
door is close enough,

and we’ve had a week 
of storms. They are, after all, 
ubiquitous, though poor,

their only song an irritating 
noise, and yet they soar 
to offer, amid hardware, rope

and handyman brochures, 
some relief, as if a flurry 
of notes from Mozart swirled

from seed to ceiling, entreating 
us to set aside our evening 
chores and take grace where

we find it, saying it is possible, 
even in this month of flood, 
blackout and frustration,

to float once more on sheer 
survival and the shadowy 
bliss we exist to explore. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: R.T. (Rod) Smith‘s collections of poetry include From the High Dive (1983), The Cardinal Heart (1991),Hunter-Gatherer (1996), Trespasser: Poems (1996), Split the Lark: Selected Poems(1999), Messenger (2001), Brightwood (2003), The Hollow Log Lounge (2003), and Outlaw Style: Poems (2008). He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts and has won the Cohen Prize from Ploughshares and a Pushcart Prize.

Illustration: “Sparrow’s Nest” (mixed media) by Elena Ray, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED