Henny Hospice – A Poem

Henny Hospice

In the midst of our kitchen there squats a chicken
named Goldmine for her feathers and yoke,
stricken by silent forces within.

What am I to learn from this old girl
who waits inside closed eyelids for death?
Does she know her fate, last breath is near?

Blind and weakened,
unable to grasp a kernel of grain
nor the wash of water to soothe her gullet.

Her peaceful slumber,
head tucked back in golden feathers
laced with black, stillness hovering.

What am I to gain from these days of wait?
Chicken ladder to roost no longer in sight,
does she see her stairway to heaven, yet?

The slice of a blade would end it now.
The resistance of feathers, skin,
my own trembling at the edge and beyond.

I wait. Her patience my anchor, my absolution.
How three pounds of waning fowl can bring such pause,
what am I missing?

Dishwater cools as I gaze backward,
peeping chick, a blurb of yellow fluff,
a teacher of life, perseverance.

Rescued from the beaks of the pecking order,
feathers grew back to cover battle scars,
eggs flowed in rhythm with the sun.

Here in my kitchen
where life is nurtured each day,
she rests before the last of her fades away.

Hearing acute, she turns her head
sideways to my steps,
my coo to her heart.

Be at peace old girl,
I can give you naught but that,
space to encounter the stillness.

As I gave my mother the day
she reached for my brother
waiting at the top of that heavenly ladder.

Bonnie A. McKeegan 3.3-02.1

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