Spring 1986, Volume 3
Essay

Brad L. Roghaar
My Son Who Chases Birds

My son is young and can barely walk
The sparrow hops four feet ahead
Never more than six, never less than two
I cannot be sure of these figures
I used to gauge my distances
more carefully

I very much want to talk to this bird
I have a recent fondness for small, feathery things
Things that are carried by the wind
The down of old cattails
Or certain seeds that settle and grow

Sparrow, I want to tell you to surrender
If only for a moment
To fold your wings inside that rounded palm
To take a chance
Allow your heart to beat within that gentle grasp
To feel, as I have felt, that most peculiar pressure
The encircling of the stricken heart
By tiny fingers not yet scarred

But if the child should squeeze too hard
And in his strength, he frightens you
Know it is not his intent

Forgive him

The boy is still quite young
He knows not what he holds