Once, I was at the zoo with my sister. In the gorilla house, a little sparrow hurled its fragile body against finger-thick plexiglass, perplexed by the pain of each sudden slamming halt. She and I laughed with pity and cornered it, cupping our hands around it on one side, the pane on the other. I was afraid I would crush it; I held it too loosely, and it escaped. We re-caught it, I told myself to hold tighter this time. I squeezed oh so slightly, feeling the frantic beating of its wildly tiny heart, its bones like glass threads, clinging hard to the precious meat of life with every flutter of muscle. For long moments after opening my hands like heavy chests and letting the wisp of treasure dart away, I stood, my gaze following behind: a long ribbon tied to one brittle limb.