He chased the cat from the second nest before
we knew the juncos had come back this spring.
September had left their first a broken ring
(how many nestlings we were never sure)
scattered on the ground. The haunting thing:
entangled in that cat-clawed wreck of nest
were wisps of blond first-haircut hair, the rest
pine needles, twigs and grass, a bit of string,
all scavenged from our yard — or so we guessed.
We swore last fall to keep a safer hedge,
to shield the young and buy them time to fledge.
And now we’re left three flightless birds: How best
protect them, even from our own son’s hand,
his hair now grown as brown and coarse as sand?