Will there be more?

Stripped
of our trappings, clinging
to those that are left us
we shiver in our corners
lucky children in pajamas, peering from the landing
while the grown-ups go to work.

Doctors, nurses, cashiers, protestors who walk the streets.

The eggs have hatched outside my Costa Rican window:
Our national bird, the clay-colored thrush.
I see their beaks agape when the mother leaves for worms.

I wait with them
eating my toast, drinking my coffee
hoping there will be more toast
hoping there will be more coffee.

What have we learned, children?
…To watch the birds and wait for their return?
To open up our beaks and squeak for worms?
To chirp forlornly? Or will there be more?

The mother is defiant. Fierce.
So modest, fluffy, the same brown as her shaggy nest.
There is, nonetheless, no mistaking her steel.
When they are rocked by a gust of wind
she doubles in size, feathers puffing,
pinning the babies beneath her to the nest.

I watch her from my own nest, this safe place I have not earned.
I plumb my depths in search of that same strength
the defense of the defenseless that we have not managed
the just battle that we have not waged
the attention that we have not paid.

I meet her little eye and hope –
but hope is not a word she’d recognize:
just Lay. Bring. Feed. Build. Fly.

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or FacebookIf you want to learn more about how to support Costa Rica during the crisis, visit my COVID-19 section, updated regularly – or for ways to enjoy Costa Rica from afar, visit Virtual Costa Rica.

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