So he led us out to the sunken courtyard
we had never noticed. We picked a table
that didn't rock, and sat and settled in.
It all reminded us, for no clear reason,
of Piazza Navona. We said it simultaneously.

I watched a couple of completely insignificant
birds. Sparrows or something. Something
clearly not on anybody's endangered list. I
saw how one twitted his head from side to
side, first one eye and then the other, glittering
up at us twenty or thirty birdlengths above him.

I saw him soar suddenly up, straight up, I saw
the pollen shaken from the twig up there he lighted on.
A very tiny part of me got all out of control and
joined him.

So I told you then how I would like to be a bird.
"With your being afraid of heights and all," you
said, and I said, "If I were a bird I wouldn't be."

Copyright © Jim Michmerhuizen 2000