Who will believe me when I say
my hens forgo their daily dig for bugs
and choose instead to sit like saffron Buddhas
beside their sister-hen whose legs have failed,
whose wings lie limp as silk?
She won’t eat until I push the bowl up close
and all three peck the mash as one.
Her wattle shrivels;
not an egg in months.
Her morning squawk’s gone silent.
I’ve been accused of anthropomorphism
more than once, have seen a cat smile.
But maybe we have it backwards —
that it was a bird who first sat watch beside the dying,
and we were too busy evolving to notice.
* * *
Reasons to Continue
This one egg
bedded in straw,
in the middle of winter.
These three hens
fluffing the nest.
This blanket of moss
after summer’s scorch.
These bare apple-branches.
This cracked-shell moon
rising above mountains at dusk.
T. Clear is a co-founder of Floating Bridge Press, her poetry has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, most recently in Bracken, Raven Chronicles, UCity Review, The Rise Up Review, and 56 Days of August/Poetry Postcards. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Award and Independent Best American Poetry Award. She is a lifelong resident of Seattle, facilitates the Easy Speak Seattle critique group Re/Write, and has the good fortune to spend her days inventing new color combinations to paint on sandblasted glass. Her website is tclearpoet.com.
featured photo credit: courtesy of the author