Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (I hear the cardinal)

I hear the cardinal
sound his call, his metallic “chip, chip, chip!”
I wonder whom he is warning off,
or what he is challenging.

I peer up at the nest,
notice the shredded, grimy bits of plastic.
I think about how nothing is perfect,
yet we are challenged to reach perfection.

I touch the branch,
reaching up from the step ladder, and pull down.
It is empty.  No shells.  No feathers.
Desolate and lonely.