On Christmas Eve, a red cardinal
was caught by our black cat who
slipped the contraband into the house
and laid him unharmed at my feet.
But far too proud to accept
this status as a humble offering
the bird took off, flew frantically
from room to room and landed
on top of our Christmas tree.
"Wow! Where did he come from?"
"So beautiful up there."
"Best ornament we've ever had."
"Can we keep him, Mom?"
But we returned him to his worried mate
whom he no doubt regaled
with a grand heroic tale
of his miraculous escape from
some poor featherless creatures
so human-brained they live
in an overheated cage
sing all their songs in monotone
have only one tree to their name.