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.