The bird sang so merrily I didn’t see he was beakless. It was too late by then. Torn off by the young child. Innocence ripped apart. Hands places they shouldn’t be. Violence going around and around. Un-understanding. Confused. But gripped in terror.

His beakless mouth was covered in blood. Feathers and excretions. I didn’t have a tissue. Didn’t know what to do. I wanted to end his suffering. His song not singing, not any longer.

The child eyed me. Wary. He stuffed his hands in his pockets. Hiding the bloody beak? I wanted to cry and scream and cuddle him close.

But I did neither.

I walked on. Turned my head. Did my chores. Life is busy, no time to dally or dilly. I didn’t think about it more, although sometimes when the dawn chorused, I remembered the beakless bird. The blood. The lack of a tissue. The lack of a song.

I moved house. Changed jobs. Got married. Life was never dull, always things to do. Never enough time.

I forgot to listen for the birdsong. Heard my babies cry. The neighbours argue. The car engine splutter. Helicopters overhead. Chop. Chop. Chop.

I used to find the occasional feather, fluttering to the ground. Blamed it on the next-door neighbour’s cat. Planted lavender to deter.

But then the droplets began in earnest and continued every day. I watched and listened and made myself pray. That I would hear the birdsong once more.

I’d never wanted to face the truth. I preferred to run away. From heavy hands and too hot tempers, my son he got away.

But now like father like son, hands places they shouldn’t be.

And blood once again.

And a voice that doesn’t speak.

To a world too busy to listen.

To the bird who flew away.