With delighted quibbles, the bird alights. A cuckoo enters the nest, level and light, balancing a bit to clutch twigs for a smaller bird. A nearby sparrow shouts a warning as the interloper lays a fake.

A sparrow weathers the events beside his hen, an apology unspoken between them. The hen runs claws against her clutch, against the interloper. Nearby, in the leaves, the cuckoo waits: ready to wreck nest and meat within should things go ill.

The sparrows have decided. They will keep the child and love it with offerings of chitin as if it were their very own. Perhaps their love will be enough, and their child will no longer savage the nests of others but build its own.

Theirs is the hope of a doomed generation.

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