Beady black eyes stare at the egg
Dark-feathered wings ruffle in anticipation
The tree is silent
And the nest is cold.
But the crow will wait.
The shell begins to crack
Ridges forming a spider web across the egg
A black beak pokes through
And spends hours struggling to remove itself.
The crow lands a peck on the top.
The egg shatters
Shutters of green falling away
Revealing the little one’s patchy, black body
His eyes twitch oddly and he cannot chirp.
The crow wraps around him.
His wings are too fragile to fly
His skinny legs barely hold him up
He rarely lets a sound slip from his beak
He is an all-black jigsaw puzzle
The crow chirps to him all the same.
She puts her beak in the wet earth at daybreak
Collecting enough squirming worms to feed them both
She gathers sticks and leaves and builds up the nest
Warming him when his sparsely feathered body cannot.
The crow empties her heart and gives him her blood.
He springs from the nest and
Flying on broken wings
Flying on his mother’s lessons
Flying on her encouragement, her love, her determination
The crow watches.
He whispers goodbye
But the crow knows it carries an important oath
A promise to one day
The crow waits.