News Poetry: Sparrows

I sip tea while men declare war
in my living room. They raise fists
on evening news, set a flag alight.
It burns, small country, in their hands.
Cameras cut to a young man in jeans,
spit curdling on lips like snowdrift.
He opens his mouth and cries.
Sparrows, remarks my husband,
and I turn to catch them
through the window, chestnut wings,
heads hooded and striped.
They bend to the backyard feeder,
plump monks at meditation.
On TV, protestors chant, breath tufting
into an iron sky, and I cannot help it:
I wonder if they’re cold. Who feeds them.
If they have mothers who love them.
Our Christmas tree still twinkles bright bullets.
Men shove hands, child-like, into downy coats,
call for others to be dressed in blood.


Photo credit: ANIM Photography, Creative Commons, Flickr

Elizabeth Oxley is a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She road-tripped west several years ago to make her home in the Rockies. Her poetry has been published in literary journals such as Peregrine and Ruminate, and she was the 2015 third-place winner in the United Kingdom Poetry Society’s international poetry competition. Elizabeth makes her home online at


  1. Your juxtaposition is inspiring. I take “innocence no matter what” out of this work. Thank you.

    I am a poet, too, and am reminded of the faith we put in our readers, to make sense of the meaning transcending images.

    Much appreciation….

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