Tag Archives: chickens

Digging the hen’s grave

on a day when I can, though barely, my own mortality implicated, excavated, spading through hardpan, carving space for the body she still inhabits,  tail down, but head up. Eyes bright; a shimmer of hackle feathers she will not molt. Secretly, I invoke fox, bobcat, hawk: You may come now; she can no longer run. […]

Victory Number 360(2021)

I decide to get up, despite the mental miasma, the obdurate inner chatter: Mass extinction. Global warming. The pandemic. Everyone who died; everyone who will. Everyone. . How, neatly named and categorized, we proceed to hate each other. Though you did treat me horribly. I deserved so much better. The cat yawns, stretches. This again. […]

All will be well

My little black hen trails me, agitated by tectonic shifts in her young body: ova gathering, releasing, moving through the dark tunnel of her maturity. She has laid two eggs; still, the strange sensations trouble her. And why not? It is hard to lose your childhood, the first and least consolable grief. I cradle her, […]


Already squirrels courting on the maple’s bare branches chasing, tumbling, wild and determined as teenage boys while my old hen sings softly the ancient song of her kind approaching again the nest box long empty which I cushion now with clean straw, feeling her feel the eggs soon to come, how already they speak to […]


  “Jingle Bells” by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, 1935.  This post originally appeared in December 2015.

Keeping busy

Not long ago, I wrote a relative in the chatty way one writes relatives, with whom meaningful conversations are apparently impossible, involving, as they might, honest emotion. She told me about the weather, and grocery shopping. I described what I had been doing, an unremarkable assortment of mostly pleasant activities: reading, writing, running, puttering about […]


I hoped he was dead when I woke the next morning,  eight hours after I left him holding the hand of the next hospice volunteer. We call it “vigil:”  a bearing witness and keeping company with the actively dying. We do it for them and their loved ones —  exhausted, grieving families and friends — who are desperate […]


Spring has scarcely arrived by the human calendar, but signs are everywhere evident in the natural world. Robins are squawking in the tall junipers that grace the town cemetery, where I often walk.  The songs of the other birds have become more varied;  there is a hint of courtship in the air, though there is no doubt more snow to […]

Girls with beards!

We have just passed the height of catalog season, during which my mailbox was visited by the usual assortment of unwanted and thereby wasted circulars advertising Christmas deals on clothing, food and other consumables. Most of these went directly into the recycle bin, but I set aside one catalog that arrived recently, anticipating a pleasant winter night’s perusal […]


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