The White Hen

The White Hen*

Atilt, a white sailboat tipped askew,
the hen propels her bulk.
Claws tear dry leaves, wings raised,
she imagines flight and trundles toward her coop.
The hawk’s shadow circles, reptilian eyes
target the soft curve of her neck:
the place where talons sever heads.
She hurries my hen, July sun on her feathers,
nothing more important than the nesting bin
where there are no predators, only
lovely moon-shaped eggs waiting for her warmth.
I hold my breath, will her to hurry,
and she reaches the coop. I know,
without looking, she has planted herself atop eggs
head first, tail feathers protruding -- a bouquet.
The hawk circles in the sky.
One less death in a world that wears us out,
this hen’s victory, a small joy to relish.
I return to the house, my own nesting bin.
Somewhere there are lovely moon-shaped eggs.

(*) First published in Sixfold Summer 2021

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