• Gary Hunter

Raising a Redwing - Oct. 21, 2022

my friend told me the quick version

redwing blackbirds nest in tall grasses

that he at 7 and his sister could reach

they stole a baby hand fed soaked bread

it grew uncaged landed on fingers

the pet cat pecked skin and toes

and one day never returned

probably killed by a cat

a kid or something it trusted


as he finished I wondered how painful it

was to nurture something with love

then watch it perish from its faith


and if one could raise a creature and

feed it from distance without affection

lovelessly and in other ways

sow distrust caution fear

teach it to fly quickly into trees

when people or cats approach

encourage nest building in the tallest rushes

where curious children can’t steal

innocence that needs to be bruised

wounded scabbed over


leave them to our wonder

admire them for that blood red dot

blurred in the beating of black wings

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