Second Sunday of Advent, Dec. 8, 2013
Lessons: Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72:1-7, Romans 15:4-13, Matthew 3:1-12
And the Shrill Shall Lead the Blind
by Kathryn Smith
“Snake-occupied screech owl nests produce more
and healthier fledglings than do snake-free nests.”
-National Wildlife magazine
When the mouse lies down with you, you’ve already
maimed him. The songbird, still warm but without
her voice, has a place in your burrow, borrowed
from the woodpecker who no longer needs it.
Your realm, eastern screech owl, is bloody
survival. It’s a headless meal dangling
from a mother’s grasp, death brought close.
But a nest lined with what feeds soon festers.
What of your hatchlings’ gaping hunger
when parasites quiver your walls? Enter
the snake, blind and coiled alive around the beak
that bears it. Slippery deliverer, she’ll devour
the maggots that threaten your young,
unaware of the kingdom they’ve been born to,
the rules they break when the serpent beds down
with a raptor’s nestlings, and both creatures thrive.