My instinct is to treat the beasts and birds
That hunger at my door,
So I stock feeders with sunflower seeds
For the local gang of squirrels
And the famished feathered flock.
Their instinct is for eating all they can,
Not knowing when they’ll eat again.
This weekend past a single white-winged dove
Paid with its life for my good intent—
And for its heedless bent on seizing opportunity;
It found the open top of the largest feeder tube
Just big enough to dive into, head first.
I suppose it spent those final hours
Torn between the primal joy
Of being face to face with endless sustenance
And terror at discovering
That this would be its last meal.
Its shock must have been akin to mine
When I realize the lavish banquet
It is to be alive
Is a feast I won’t survive.