Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2015 >Daily Dispatch 27

January 27, 2015: Chickens Past

They came to live with us,
one by one in a sporadic fashion.
Not in single file,
for chickens never do anything linearly.
Discards, chickens who’d, supposedly, ceased to lay eggs.
And I named each, thinking that this would give me some say
in determining their fate.
No drop into the pot here;
rather, each would head skyward on the day of the rapture.
And I knew that in naming them that I was like God,
in that I was imbuing them with identities.
Stubbi, Nimby, Henny Penny Palin, Chicken Catchatori
each had a story to tell that I had to tell for them.
With identities came affection,
with affection came attachment,
with attachment came the desire to stop time,
and keep life as it was.
Chickens in the pot,
were not a sign of prosperity;
rather, eggs in the coop,
were a sign of fecundity.

They went.
First Stubbi, who died of natural causes.
Found upside down,
in roost box head sideways beak open wide, eyes unblinking.
Then Nimby, who died in my arms,
as I was taking a self-portrait.
Big white Delaware, puked, shuddered,
and took on the ghost.
then Henny Penny and Chicken Catachatori, and Snooki,
all were one cold winter night done in by an ermine,
who later came back for Henrietta, the newcomer.

Sorrow only has boundaries,
if you’re a confined animal.
My screaming terrified the goats,
who retreated to the far side of the pen.
And the dogs who with tails between legs,
crept under the porch.
All passed in the dead of winter.
I put each bird in a black plastic bag,
and placed in the outdoor freezer.
Come spring, I carried the full sack out to the woods
and buried those I’d named under the previous year’s leaves.
I, the one given the power to name then released their frozen spirits.

She was an afterthought.

They went.

Next: 28. 1/28/15: The Writing Life: The Drive to Create

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles