As a child I lingered outside
the henhouse at dusk
to eavesdrop on the low
chuckle of hens inside
but I never questioned
their habits just as
I didn’t question
many other things,
Now I wonder—
how they knew
to gather inside, on parallel
horizontal poles, no less.
Did some biddies squabble over who
got to perch next to Rooster—
or who got to be farthest away?
Was there one with fancy feathers
who couldn’t abide the constant
chuff-chuffing of her roost-mates,
the way they couldn’t settle
themselves without a fuss?
Was there one who balked at what was expected,
one who preferred a gnarled limb
or a secret spot beneath a dense bush?
Wasn’t there at least one feisty hen
who stayed outside to gaze
at the Milky Way, to stretch
her neck and stare in slack-beaked
amazement at a waxing gibbous,
a waning crescent moon?