Every morning my mother woke to the charmed zip of Sparrow’s cry. Nested in the maple outside her bedroom window, the old bird chirped until the pane rushed up its wooden frame. My mother paid for her fortune in breadcrumbs, extended her cupped hand and let the bird’s quill-prick beak stir the lifeline of her palm. Sparrow ticked the years my mother had left and mother lost count every time. It felt safe, this ritual. Each peck mark equally, predictably sharp. Long lifeline, Sparrow whispered, you will endure much.
Jacqui Zeng is an MFA candidate at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.