a close-up photo of a young green bean plant leaf with an oval, irregularly bordered hole along one of the veinsAn Answer

For days you have wondered
who is eating the leaves in the garden

broccoli, lettuce, beans,
ripped to the stem

you imagine it could be
slug, deer, raccoon, or earwig

then, sitting quietly and not thinking much,
you see the sparrows, smudged yellow on the forehead

they move from plant to plant,
beak off tender leaves,
swallow with a quick pulse at the throat

and suddenly, you can’t begrudge them, any of them.
Not the birds or the slugs, not an errant earwig.

The rains are late again,
there is so little green to live on.

Originally published in EcoTheo Review.