Chickens

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Image by Johan Hendrik Weissenbruch

I try to paint my son’s farmhouse and woods,
try to hold
then release into brushstrokes:
barking fox cubs, dappled light,
warbling chickens beside the red coop.

What is the focal point?
Not the chickens.
I don’t trust them.

Last week a young rooster
(gorgeous, yellow plumed)
launched himself at my son’s wife
and was beaten off.

She did it herself
grabbed a branch,
threw her shirt over his head
and backtracked.

Now she shows off her clematis
clinging to the coop
and the new roof, planed from a tree
felled by last year’s hurricane.

I’d been frantic, called them every hour.

The chickens lost their bearings then.
Half refused the coop
and huddled all night in the sycamore

until hawks picked them off.

Cathleen Cohen is an educator and artist who lives near Philadelphia. She spends her time tutoring youth in deprived areas of Philadelphia while overseeing ArtWell’s We the Poets program (a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia). Her work appears in various journals and in a chapbook titled Camera Obscura (Moonstone Press, 2017). She has received the Interfaith Relations Award from the Montgomery County PA Human Rights Commission and the Public Service Award from National Association of Poetry Therapy.

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