Coming home today my daughter
startled in her tracks exclaims
at the wrinkled, pruney body
and its tufts of raggedy
beginning feathers, patches
of pink-grey flesh underneath:
some freak wind has blown
this nest of twigs and dry matter
out of a tree— which? And now,
this not even fledged and beating
thing is trembling at our feet.
Gently we pick it up and lay it
back in the nest, or that part
most unbroken; then set the whole
into a shoebox lined with dish
towels and some leaves. Its mother
is nowhere to be found— lost,
or herself perished? The feathers
are very recent growth: charcoal
smudge, faint five-o’-clock shadow.
Though there are possible
forms of intervention,
not knowing what kind of bird—
seed eater or not?— makes it hard.
It’s breathing, but barely.
This much we know: there’s a fig
tree in back under whose leaves
we could dig a hole to bury it,
should it sink into that final
abandonment— but not just yet.
In response to Via Negativa: Tarantism.