I unintentionally lured a hummingbird into the jaws of my cat a few days ago, trying to get it down from the skylight. I have now thought of several ways I could easily have avoided this savage death. Not that it does the poor, tiny bird any good. That kind of regret is expressed for a different animal in this poem by Ruth Stone.
Once you saw a drove of young pigs
crossing the highway. One of them
pulling his body by the front feet,
the hind legs dragging flat.
you called the Humane Society.
They came with a net and went for him.
They were matter of fact, uniformed;
there were two of them,
their truck ominous, with a cage.
He was hiding in the weeds. It was then
you saw his eyes. He understood.
He was trembling.
After they took him, you began to suffer regret.
Years later, you remember his misfit body
scrambling to reach the others.
Even at this moment, your heart
is going too fast; your hands sweat.