You know how it pretends 
to have a broken wing to 
lure predators away from its 
nest, how it staggers just out 
of reach . . . if, at this moment,
you’re feeling metaphorical, 
nest can be the whatever 
inside us that we think needs 
protection, the whatever that is 
small & hasn’t yet found its 
way. Like us it has lived so long 
on scraps, on what others have 
left behind, it thinks it could live 
on air, on words, forever almost, 
it thinks it would be better to let 
the predator kill it than to turn 
its back on that child again, 
forgetting that one lives inside 
the other. 

Copyright © 2018 by Nick Flynn. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 4, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem
“I generally have a problem with anthropomorphizing, with what’s called the pathetic fallacy, forgetting that we are all part of the deeper mystery of the natural world. I think our minds are the limits of what is measurable. I sometimes think that everything is measurable, yet the fact that a killdeer does this dance fills me with unspeakable sadness and joy.”
—Nick Flynn