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there is a robin's nest on my porch.
the mother sits, guarding,
until i walk into the kitchen
and she sees me through the screen door.
she chirps,
shifting closer to her children,
an empty threat aimed at me.

i open the door
and the mother flies away.
the children, abandoned,
at least— until she returns.
i'm sure she will. she is a strong bird,
and this has happened many times.
but still i wonder, what if that was it?
what if she's finally decided to move on,
too afraid to stay, even for her children?
and i wonder,
if she never returns,
how guilty i will feel.