Seven iced-over winters followed
by sweet bugs on long summer days.
Flightless old girls with twisted
toenails and dim eyes, each year
their webbed feet turn a bit more
inward, carrying the weight of their
front-heavy bodies. Was it a plan?
The hens began to answer the barking
terrier, marching wing to wing and
four abreast, heads tucked to the
left, bills dropped low, and on each,
a single eye glaring straight, baiting
the dog with a righteous chorus, fences
give courage to a time-honored battle. One
morning, necks at broken angles, perhaps
they won the day. Old bones rest free. Not
many feathers, not much fight. Maybe a
weasel or a house dog, blame doesn’t matter
now. Just to acknowledge their small lives,
as families of goslings appear on the pond.