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Grey Sparrow Journal and Press, as of January 31, 2018 will move to

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Winter Birds on the Kinnickinnic


for Andrew Walloch

Willows redden the snowy river
shore.  Robins drink from steaming
pools opened by live springs,
wintering over in spite of the cold.

An eagle wafts on high,
hardly moving its wings, borne on
the subzero updraft.  White head
and tail flash, catching sun.

On the trail we find a small
dull-olive-colored bird
resting face-down in a deep
bootprint—a female goldfinch

intact though no longer alive.
Her closed eyes are peaceful,
without sadness in the scooped
snow vault where she met death.

It's been a dangerous and hard
winter.  Wild creatures struggle
to sustain needed body warmth
through polar days and nights.

We are changing the climate.
Don't you agree it's an eerie
omen that this fallen friend
has ended in a human footprint?


                          —Thomas R. Smith