Yes, it’s cruel. An unseemly gluttony. Trapping the ortolan buntings, forcing them to gorge in the dark, mouthfeel of seeds their only comfort in that closed, blank space. Drowned in amber brandy, plucked then roasted, their tiny bones crunch softly in the mouth. The smallish wings tuck along smooth, browned skin, like stiff Olympic lugers eaten whole. A white cloth napkin drapes over the head to hide the diner’s shame from the sight of God. If that were true, I’d buy them in bulk, wash, dry, and press them, carry folded stacks everywhere I went, place them as needed. Once, I carried my girl child inside me like a burden, her cabbage head pressing on my softened cervix, an aching pain so agonizing I wanted her out at all costs. My brother said there is no home safer for her than your body. I want this to be untrue. My sweet girl, just now a woman, is hustling tips from old, rheumy-eyed men who tell her smile real pretty for me. She is home, giving me her day, and I am handing out advice like I have all the answers. When she’s had enough, she stomps up to her room, cocoons herself in piled clothes and empty dishes. Later, in the kitchen, I see she has eaten what I left her: a simple green salad, grilled chicken thigh lightly seasoned. Instead I should have said I’m sorry, should have said there’s no mistake I haven’t made.