Ameracauna Hen

The leaves on the Hackberry tree,
which is laden with tiny burgundy berries,
are beginning to turn
yellow.
The hummingbirds have gone,
Monarchs flown through
and wasps slowed.
The raccoons, possums, skunks,
coyotes
seem hungrier—
coming close up in the yard,
murdering three guineas
and our last hen
in last night’s chicken house raid,
the second in a row.
We have temporarily sequestered
the remaining five guineas
and Silkie rooster.
They’re not happy,
but we think they are safe.
We’re reinforcing—again—
every possible entrance
into the old hen house
and thinking of new ideas
for keeping chickens
again,
eventually.
But the truth is,
we live on the prairie
alongside possums, skunks,
raccoons, coyotes.
Chickens are supper to them
and as summer’s bounty
diminishes,
the hen house
becomes their focus.

Then, just as we’re transitioning
into fall
and looking toward winter,
thunderstorms roared last night
(though we only got a drizzle)
and more are predicted.
We welcome rain,
we welcome rain,
we welcome rain,
should it come.
Today,
it feels like spring:
warm, eerily balmy.
The Mockingbird,
who shouts its fanciest repertoire
in spring,
is singing today,
the first time in months.
That song
is a gift,
a balm
on this sad day—
and completely out of sync.
Seasons schmeasons;
they’re all tangled up
together now—
providing us opportunities
to learn lessons
in dispensing with
expectations,
in non-resistance
to what is
in
this
one
lovely
moment.
This one lovely moment
in which we miss you,
dear hens.