by Elisavietta Ritchie
As I learned in a lone Malay hamlet,
final year of a marriage, fowl are not
loving, like cats, which he banned,
nor companionable, like the mutt
he got third-hand after I chased out
a midnight burglar while he slept.
Burnished auburn, emerald and gold,
the rooster strutted with audacity, wattles wagged contempt for humankind.
The black hen might have felt
primordial compassion, for
day after day, no matter that
the door was to stay shut,
in she'd slip, rooster in pursuit,
stalk upstairs, leave her gift:
one beige egg, laid on my pillow
or in my bureau drawer
left open by mistake.
Were these fertilized?
Could I have incubated them,
turned foster mother to a flock?
But I recalled an adage,
Don't try to teach
your grandma to suck eggs,
found my darning needle, poked
a hole in the narrow end,
gulped the rich and slimy life inside.
Last updated August 20, 2017