Here in the suburbs we are annoyed
when the neighbors decide to raise
chickens, build a coop and rise each
day to crows and the promise of eggs.

We pluck feathers from our petunias
and our pools, listen to rasping cackles
as we mow, glance to the sky to plead
for justice and when the hawks fly low.

Only when someone forgets one night
to cinch the latch on the outside fence
can we let our indignation go. Now we
gather our sorrows like the neighbors’

children, who find some way to pick up
the bodies and the bones – feathers from
our yards, too – and accept the old ways
of foxes or coyotes, holding no judgment.

Artwork: © Olivia Clifton-Bligh, Red-Breasted Old English Game Cock, hand-burnished illuminated linocut print. Used with permission.