Issue One: Spring 2017

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God, this morning, is a sparrow on my deck,
a common house sparrow, invasive and aggressive,
with prominent brown and black stripes and
an eye toward food and nesting spots and
chasing away dark-eyed juncos and nuthatches
from the seeds, worried about scarcity though
the feeders have their own unpredictable abundance.
He doesn’t mean to dominate, doesn’t intend
to throw off the natural order of things.
He just wants what we all want: to eat and nest
and stay warm during the frozen early spring nights,
to live to see the next season, and maybe the next,
the universe be willing, or himself, if it comes to that.
He might try to be the last word in ornithological politics,
but nonetheless the cardinals and chickadees
hold their own, standing up to his self-assured bluster,
keeping him in his godly place. He has
more power than he needs. He’ll do just fine.

About the Author

Vivian Wagner is an associate professor of English at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. She’s the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel-Kensington), and a poetry collection, The Village (Kelsay Books). Visit her website at:

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