broken bird

Walked by two agitated starlings. A third starling was on its back in the road, legs kicking. It looked like a fledgling, maybe fallen and couldn’t get up. I went over to pick it up. Red stuff had come out its head. A vehicle had hit it. The parents were hopping about, screaming. There was nothing I could do; nothing to pick it up with. Couldn’t dispatch it with sandals.

I walked back to the verge. There was another starling fledgling hiding in the grass, a sibling maybe. It had soft grey nest-fuzz among its feathers, the wide yellow slash of a nestling’s beak. It ran close to me for comfort, then stopped. Not all moving things might be friends. We watched one another, the parents still screaming. I had to leave.