House Sparrow
Lee Peterson

House Sparrow

        Autumn 2020

One day, not long ago, not
far away. I came in
from the garden
with dirt on my hands.
Thick blood pooled
on the concrete step
outside the kitchen door,
two inches around—a tuft
of fur or feathers at its edge.
Some ordinary death
at our doorstep. Some
unremarkable erasure
I hoped to hide
from my daughter
whose heart remains soft
for tufted things, who
doesn't know yet
how to draw blood
from cloth. Though I tried
to remove the spot,
the sluice of suds
on the cement, my scrubbing
only stripped the top,
the surface blood.
A mark—two inches wide
and brown, settled into the stone
beneath the fleshy
crimson stain—
settled, remained, remains.

Lee Peterson

is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Rooms and Fields: Dramatic Monologues from the War in Bosnia (Kent State University Press) and In the Hall of North American Mammals (winner of the Cider Press Review Book Award), as well as a chapbook, The Needles Road (forthcoming from Seven Kitchens Press). She teaches writing and works with international students at Penn State University's Altoona campus.