Maybe it’s their story:
mom plucked from the nest
mere hours before they were to emerge
from the nest of eggs, instead
emerging in an incubator, the five;
growing up in an outside pen of the barn
to protect them from the adults, then
one eaten by a snake…
For some reason, I am enamored
with this clutch of teenaged guineas.


Guineas are herd animals anyway;
they stick together as family
or groups. We have one adult guineaa single, whose family is actually
the three chickens it was raised with.
They still run together, along with a cat,
who thinks he’s part of that family too.

Now that they’re big enough to be in the barn
with everyone else,
these four are doing what guineas do:
running together, always. Roosting together.
There is one among them who seems to be leader;
who ventures first into the melee of chickens and guineas attacking
the freshly-spread scratch on the barn floor.
One large guinea adult or another
runs the young one off and it joins
its three siblings holding back in the distance.
They scramble
off together, that clutch of four.
It will take growth and a long time
before they are free of harassment.
Eventually, they’ll have less interference
from the others. One day, they’ll find their way
out of the barn (though we hope they’re bigger
when they do; not so ripe for prowling coyotes)
and have free range of the farm. But wherever
they go,
they will go together,
as one.
In the meantime,
in the barn,
making their way
through the heirarchy
of fowldom,
they have each other.