LOCAL LIT: ‘The Summer I Rented Chickens’
I fell in love, not only with my girls
(Henrietta and Harriet were their names),
but with summer. Morning dew
glistening on grass, air fresh,
atmosphere still and clear.
The night ritual: shutting my girls in
stars twinkling above me in the dark bowl
moon showing me all her faces, sometimes
clouds scuttling before rain.
I liked the way the chickens walked,
fluffed their feathers, and talked.
I liked the eggs, warm and brown,
nestled in the exact center of their nest,
each different because each chicken
was a different variety.
I watched them constantly,
fed them vegetables from the garden,
and laughed when they ran pell-mell
at me whenever I came round.
Everything superfluous stripped away,
just elementary living, partly because
my husband could have lived or died
the summer I rented chickens.
With new medicine, he rallied.
When the chickens returned to their home farm,
he was able to help lift the chicken house
into the truck, the perfect ending
to a summer that could have gone another way.
Candace Hennekens is a writer, artist, and sewer living on the banks of the Eau Claire River. Her short book of poems, photos, and chicken facts, titled Rented Chickens, won first place in the 2020 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets chapbook contest. For more by and about Candace visit her V1 author page.