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January 29, 2015: Alektophobia

After the ermine killed our three hens,
Pete placed the warm corpses in a black plastic bag,
sealed it with a zip tie, and stuck it in the outdoor freezer.
For weeks, I refused to go near the coop,
for I associated blood spatter,
loose feathers, and unblinking eyes,
with sharp weasel teeth and wanton slaughter.

Come spring, I grabbed a shovel,
hefted the sack over my shoulder, walked to the nearby woods,
dug a hole, and lined it with old leaves.
And I, who still feared the outward specter of death,
averted my gaze when shaking out the bag ,
and moving dirt back into place.

Other birds have since come and gone,
all living past their prime.
I learned that chickens are both expendable and replaceable.
This is not to say they’re all alike. For example:
Some are quiet. Some are noisy.
Some stay put. Some run off.
Some remain alone. Some buddy up.
Some fight. Some play.
Once phobic, always phobic.
Late at night,
I lift the roost box lid and prepare to take flight.

Next: 30. 1/30/15: Torpor



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