We had two chickens for a while.
Neither one would lay an egg.
They clucked and they quarreled. They ran
Around the yard, through the pines.
Intent on scratching through the straw,
Chortling as they spotted bugs,
Ignoring us unless we chased
Or fed them, they seemed content.
It was hard not to imagine
They were absorbed in their lives,
Feathered scholars deep in their books.
They disappeared. They returned.
One morning, only feathers strewn
Around the coop, one chicken
Hiding in pines by the back wall.
The other one gone for good.
No more free ranging scholarship
For the frightened survivor.
A week later in the moonlight,
One eye gone, bloodied, trembling,
She staggered against chain-link fence,
Twitched, collapsed and died herself.
That was that. The way the truth set
Upon us, truth sets us free.