Caitlin and the Hens

You are learning that small pleasure:
to scoop corn with your fingers,
value its silky trickle through a palm.

The birds fuss around your ankles
until you scatter gold pips,
making them scrabble at the earth.

One strays, you lift it, the fowl easy
in your grasp.  Your chin rests on its wing
as you whisper into feathers:

a child’s confessions to a hen.
Inside the hutch, you collect
what you were sent for.  Eggs held

as if they trembled, lowered
into a Tupperware of straw.
Your father stands in the kitchen,

butter softening in the pan,
as you thumb the latch, make your
careful exit from the coop.

Caitlin and the Hens