Sparrow Shadow, Florida

by | Jan 22, 2020 | Poetry

Morning sun on a sparrow’s flight
creates a shadow, scooting along,
bird on grass, gray on green,
large and fuzzy as a heron, and fast.

The shadow’s a matter of light,
waves and absence, not soul, not ghost.

Now the sparrow’s gone—just like that!
The shadow too. They are not dead yet,
though the bird will dissolve someday
into other matter.

But what becomes of the shadow,
which surely one could measure?
It must be as real as the bird.

Maybe the shadow will only disappear,
not cease—a phantom’s trick after all.

The bird has the integrity to die
and see what else. The shadow—sneaky,
safe and certain as an echo—roosts
in the Great Rookery of Shadows,
wherever that may be.


Photo used under CC.

About The Author


John Hazard grew up in the southeastern Ohio town of Caldwell and now lives in Birmingham, Michigan. He has taught at the University of Memphis and, more recently, at the Cranbrook Schools and Oakland University in suburban Detroit. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart and has appeared widely in magazines, including Ploughshares, Poetry, Shenandoah, Slate, The Gettysburg Review, Ascent, Carolina Quarterly, New Ohio Review, Harpur Palate, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. His 2015 book of poetry is Naming a Stranger (Aldrich Press).