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Monday Meditations

This week's poem, "Cowbirds," is a tribute of sorts to the returning spring birds. It first appeared in Pasque Petals 90.1.  

COWBIRDS

The cowbird hen dumps

a fat speckled egg

in the neighbor’s nest

while no one’s home.

She perches, barely winded,

preens a bit, then flies off

to find the cock

and make another egg.

 

A purple finch sails home,

beak heavy with cricket,

before her own eggs can cool.

She tucks, trims, weaves

the frayed edges of the nest,

shivers tiny muscles

to spread downy feathers

over the eggs.

 

When the chicks hatch,

one is clumsy dull-brown,

mouth wider, more demanding

than the three pale chicks

over which he lumbers.

He’ll grow quickly,

shove smaller chicks

over the edge.

 

The cowbird hen dumps

another fat speckled egg

in a phoebe’s nest, catches

her breath, preens, fluffs,

flies back to the cock.

Cowbird hens are not

exceptional—such mothers

are everywhere.