She is small but quick
obviously adores her father,
following him everywhere
imitating everything he does,
every sound he makes,
and every way he moves,
as he intends her to do.
This is what they do together most afternoons,
he running down the list of things she needs to know,
and methodically showing her how to do one and then the next,
and he is very affectionate with her, touching her face frequently.
She’s a little uncertain at this next task, though,
and hesitates as he coaxes her,
she clutching the branch in her little orange claws,
tilting her head from side to side,
the tiny red-brown crest on the top of her head
moving forward and back as if trying to focus,
and even though he knows he should probably stand his ground,
the bright red cardinal grasps a sunflower seed from the feeder,
hops back to his daughter, cracking the shell to expose the treat inside,
and, each tilting their heads as if to kiss, he gently places it in her open beak.
Soon, she will be gone to him forever.
© Bernadette E. Kazmarski