|'Sparrow Project by Ukraine artist Sasha Shagi - link|
Its heart beat so fast my hand trembled.
Its black beak was open. It panted, like the smallest of dogs.
"Shhh," I cooed, and placed it in a box lined with a clean tea towel.
Its wing splayed sideways, wrong.
I watched it for a moment, trying to recover. Breathing hard. Tiny body respirating. Eyes shut with exertion.
I had been outside, reading, watching the birds as they came to our feeder, diving, singing, exuberant. They chased each other in great swooping sweeps of careless wonder. Cicadas buzzed in summer heat. Geese swam in the river. The dog napped at my feet.
The sparrow was playing tag with a yellow finch when it struck the side of our garage. My heart leapt. I ran to see how it was. It lay in the grass, shuddering, wings stretched inelegantly. I picked it up, marvelled at the wonder of its fragile beauty in my hand, put it in a box, gave it darkness and safety to recoup.
Then I went inside for breakfast.
When Saturday's bacon and poached eggs were done, I asked Dave to please check on the sparrow.
"I'm afraid," I said.
I watched him through the window. He lifted the top of the box. His mouth twisted. He looked up at me and shook his head.
I am sorry.