The panic in her voice

sticks needles in my elbows.

An urge to help

springs up my throat.

I push it down

like regurgitated pity.

She knows the pitch,

the voice of hatchlings in the nest,

their open mouths

just asking for a worm

I cannot resist giving.

Cold hearted mother,

I close my ears

and look away.

Because I know

a worm will not stop

that shrill and piercing cry.

Food gulped down and gone

that maw will open once again.

My strength for hunting worms is sapped.

I put my plugs and blindfold on

and fly away

and hope some other mother happens by.

Or when I’m gone

she’ll stop

And learn to fly.