Jim Wilson: The Law of Natural Selection

All day at least all afternoon
on the porch outside my office window
a little, fledgling barn swallow sits.
Above in the corner nest, 4 swallow siblings
cram side by side in the one room mud stucco nest
obviously too small for 5 to mature to full flight.
Four sets of yellow lips gape for airborne lunch
Bud below is out of sight out of mind.
Odd man out gapes his yellow lips too.
Food deliveries are rare compared to nestlings’ fare
Groundling tries to fly, but wing and tail feathers unfinished.
Does he need one week, two weeks? How long to lift off?
His best flight 3” high and 18” long.
Wright brothers beginning
Downed Vietnam fighter pilot
Unlucky fledgling barn swallow
Do I catch, box, and bring inside?
Do I try to replace endangering the other four?
All afternoon agony
It’s dark now. He is out of sight under the porch shrubbery.
His siblings and I are secure. The snake, feral cat, or skunk
Could very well happen on a midnight snack.
Such is life or the end of it.
Letting nature take its course is crappy.
No, daylight shines and he is still on the porch.
The saga continues all week.
Day three and single grounded fledgling has a buddy.
Now on Sunday I see only two left in nest.
Then, by golly, two hours later there are 6 adults
flying kamikaze blue angel patterns through the porch.
And there is only one baby still in the nest.
Monday morning empty nest, empty porch
Arial circus thru the porch and around the front yard
Five new birds in the show.
Now I can get rid of that gosh awful ugly mud nest
in the corner of the porch ceiling and clean up
that pile of droppings on the cement below.
They’ll be back next spring for home construction
blessed events, and off to college in July.
I hope the next five are as lucky as these,
but I would like to suggest birth control, bigger nest, or
window curtains to ease my anxiety. 

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