We didn’t know there was a guinea nest.
When Ann discovered a dead guinea,
Dog Sadie, despite her anti-guinea-chasing training,
was suspect. It was the Pappa Guinea,
pacing around the nest,
who inadvertently showed Ann
the scene of the crime:
The couple had set the nest far
from the barn,
in tall grass,
out by the farm sign near the road;
the guinea Sadie killed
was a sitting hen.
We have watched male guineas
tend sitting hens for weeks,
then pace and cry out for days,
long after Mamma guineas
have hatched the keets
then given up on keeping them
alive. Keets seldom survive
the first few days of life
on the predator-laden
and too-tall, too-dewy-grass prairie, far
from their native African
savannah habitat.
This hen’s death was tragic. Then,
against the grieving Pappa’s wishes,
Ann removed the eggs
and put them in an incubator.
Within hours, there were keets.

Ironic, it is:
we might never have known
the family was there
had Sadie not killed the Mamma.
We wouldn’t have known to rescue
the eggs; the keets
wouldn’t have survived
out by the road
in the tall grass.

Pappa has gone back to the barn
and five keets
are growing under warming lights
in the house.

We hope Pappa
recognizes them
when, a little while from now,
as teenagers,
they are moved to the barn.

I pace.
I cry out.
Life is, well…