In high school I read an article in National Geographic about Whooping Cranes, and how they were becoming endangered, and researchers, rather than using the old method of hand raising the cranes using Whooping Crane Puppets (google it, a real thing!) they began placing these Whooping Crane eggs in the nests of Sandhill Cranes, a close relative of the Whooping Crane. This article has inspired a few pieces of writing, but this poem was written for my poetry portfolio in my senior year of college.
Long slender wading birds
flying with straight necks across the horizon.
He and she met in Child Psychology class
got married on the hottest day of the year
and couldn’t wait to start a family.
Crane hatchlings become attached
to their first caregiver. This is called imprinting.
Their only hope was to wait
for a call from the adoption agency.
Option one for survival:
Endangered whooping cranes
raised by crane hand puppets,
humans dressed in crane costumes
and recorded crane calls
will grow to survive on their own
living to care for another generation.
Twenty-four hours after receiving the call,
and a cyclone of activity
they had their very own baby girl,
who fit snugly in the spot between her daddy’s elbow and wrist.
Option two for survival:
whooping crane eggs placed
gently in the nests
of the smaller sandhill cranes,
to be raised as a sandhill.
No one questions her
except when she stands next to her parents
and people ask “where did you get your height?”