Why Cardinals Die from Windowpanes


Cardinals mate for life.

If their mate dies, they search the rest of their lives for them.

That is why Cardinals fly into windows,

They think the reflection is their mate.

They love them too much.


When I was 6 years old

Three boys not much older than me

Had taken a baseball bat to a Cardinal’s nest.

Stumbling over like some infant being betrayed by their unstable legs,

Pushing them away,

There were four smashed eggs and the remnants of yoke and broken wings.

There was a dark feeling in my stomach:

I should have come sooner.

It was my entire fault.

I could have saved them.

All the anger and sadness and pain

Found its escape in my little hands and if you ask my family what my oddest trait is,

It’s that I feel legitimately upset when someone gets rid of something because it “isn’t important.”


Saving spiders,

box elders,

bees that sting,

ladybugs that are invasive of privacy and home.

Slamming on brakes of cars to save snapping turtles trying to cross the interstate and I never liked swimming in my parents pool because it was freezing but I would scout the surface of the water to see if anything had flown, landed, fallen, into its depths.

I’d spend hours practicing recovery maneuvers-

Air-dry mangled and waterlogged wings with my breath until the nat, butterfly, or wasp could fly or died in my pruned hands.


You have no idea how many times they tell me it’s not worth it


And maybe I’m obsessive

But I guess being obsessive about saving things is a good thing.



And no,

I probably don’t need the paper mache K I made in fourth grade but how would it feel if it knew I gave it up.


It’s not all the time

         But I’ve been like this since before I can remember.


I can feel everything.

Even the things that do not exist, I make up their emotions.

I would feel abandoned when I’d give up old toys

            I didn’t want them to think I didn’t love them anymore.

It took me until I was 14 to stop myself from rescuing old stuffed animals from the Goodwill pile- I had to literally convince myself they would have a better life somewhere else.


To this day I save shoes that have worn out their soles because I somehow have convinced myself they have a soul.

A life to them.

A life to them

A Life to them.

A Life for them

A Life. For. Them.


Cardinals mate for life.

If their mate dies, they search the rest of their lives for them.

That is why Cardinals fly into windows, they think the reflection is their mate.

And that is why Cardinals die from windowpanes.



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