Rick Lott

Ode to the Chicken  
The foolish creature can be paralyzed
by holding its beak
to a line scratched in the dirt.
It suffers the torment
of mites with sad forbearance.
Squat, ungainly, denied
the freedom of true flight,
the chicken flounders just
above the heads of its enemies,
its garrulous alarm
a crude and awkward song.
It dreams of wild skies
and never oversleeps.
It grinds philosophy in its craw.
The rooster abandons pride
and propriety to chase
squawking white skirts.
Tread in dust and whirling
feathers, the hen shakes out
her shabby dress and struts, nursing
the secret light in her bowels.
Let us praise the chicken,
who never fails to celebrate the egg
of dawn, and whose stubby wings
can lift it at least as high
as a tree top.

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(Caleb Everly)