This is kiku.
I found her on the pavement, I picked her up in my hands, she wiggled around and cheeped. She was trying to fly, turning in circles, her neck twisted, grasping the skin of my hands with her claws. She flapped her wings and fell into a lavender bush, caught in the restful tangle of the bright purple flowers and the wiry stems. I lifted her out and she twisted her body into my palms, tired and close and trusting. I walked down the road with her held against my chest, to the vets, grey and clean and smelling like bleach, I said I would come back in an hour.
I never got to say goodbye to little kiku, they gave her to me in a small cardboard box, a black floral pattern around the edge. She was wrapped in a piece of blue tissue - the type you get in hospitals. She smelt like chemicals.
I walked up the road, tears all over my face. I passed her family and friends, singing her name from the eaves of the houses.
"ki" "ku" "ki" "ku"
I picked blackberries from the bush where she would have eaten, leaves from the copper beach where she would have landed. Blueberries and Marigolds from my garden where she would have come to drink water on her way to the overgrown hazel bushes where her community live. I lay her down and left her for 3 days.
I have never been so affected by the death of a little sparrow, I cried for days, I was totally grief stricken, and totally in awe of this interaction with her, her precious life and soulless death. I am in an intense relationship with the birds that live all around me.
For days and days after she died, sparrows would come to my garden in their dozens. Landing, singing, flying around, eating, drinking, celebrating summer, celebrating kiku.