Baby Red

Juvenile Cardinal in Spruce Tree – at home in Iowa
Baby Red
By Vicki L. Flaherty
I couldn’t tell whether it was
squealing with delight and exhilaration, or  
crying out in fear and overwhelm -  
the immensity of the world!
She sat on the fence
fluttering her feathers in a frolic
click, click, clicking a story she wanted to tell.
Mom just two shoe lengths away,
off to the right, under the honeysuckle branch,
ready to lead the way or stay behind,
whatever her motherly intuition had to say.
Dusty tan feathers all over her little round body,
with a hint of pinkish red
when the sun shined on her just right.
She wore a little crown with the tiniest
of cardinal tufts upon her noisy head.
Mom flit across the yard and up
up into the canopy of spruce trees.
The distance like a marathon ahead,
little one gathered her courage, and
with a quick little song and an awkward grace,
she danced into the dangling limbs,
dropping herself down at her mother’s side.
Suddenly, all went silent.
A big bad blue jay arriving
at the bird bath in the yard below.
Moments pass.
And then, Baby Red begins again,
tick-tick-ticking, louder as mom joins in…
a little celebration of achievement,
a first milestone on the journey of life.

This poem is part of an online collection I call Little Morsels of Delight.

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