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287th Weekly Poetry Contest winner: The Fledgling

by Miles T. Ranter

Hopping around the parking lot,
oil-streaked and stovetop-hot,
her young ignores the shrieks of “danger
drawing near!” But I’m no stranger.

I’ve seen her perched atop the fence,
her deep red tint in evidence.
But when her fearless flyer smacks
a car, something in me reacts.

As she observes with anxious eye,
I clutch him close. He fights to fly
from fingers kind yet as unbending
as bone and not used to befriending

robins. But I rush to bring
this frightened one inside. I wing
it playing vet and stroke his head.
He shuts his eyes. He must be fed,

I know. She had been busy schooling
him to fly; now I sit fooling
with this vulnerable guest.
I’d set him free, but where’s her nest?

How to lead him to grass and clover,
where fledglings will not be run over.
To guide him to the caterpillars.
To guard him from the robin killers.


(Appeared in The Rotary Dial and The Speculative Edge.)

See all the entrants to 287th Weekly Poetry Contest