Kiss the sky


Why have you fallen

I asked of the baby bird

Only days from its shelled cocoon


And now fallen from its nest of siblings

In mother’s fated absence.


Oh! What she will find in her regal dismay

When she returns from her diligent


Hunt for elusive worms

Now stuffed ever gently in her beak

For two chicks, now,

Not three.


(I wondered sadly if she would notice.)


I had learned as a child

Not to handle fallen chicks ~


Not to drench them in human scent

Or mother might possibly, and

Most probably,

Will reject.


When she circled out of the sheets of space

And close to the nest, I backed into


Brush so as not to frighten her at

Finding once less child to feed.


I heard her chirp change to

A frantic octave


Beady eyes darting this way and that,

Knowing something

Surely was



She satisfied the other starving mouths

But she never once

Stopped fluttering nervously,




Calling, for something she

Didn’t know quite yet

She’d never

See again.


Why can’t she pick him up, what

Good are beaks and wings

If not to save your own?


And he laid there so still on the

Leafy ground, tiny

Twig feet pointing

Degradingly upwards.


How I could identify: an instant

orphan, shocked, and dazed.


Forget all I’ve learned!


When mother took off once more

Into the unknowns of

Her world,


I gathered him in my coat



And carried him home.


He will grow, take wing some fine day, become

The flight and fury

That never looks back to thank me ~


But that’s okay

That’s okay



As long as he has the chance someday

To kiss

Something that belongs to him:


That distant,

Elusive sky.




© Susan Joyner-Stumpf


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