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A feathered lady of a certain age grows spurs
one morning, learns to crow where once she only chuckled,
head-down, over corn and chicks.
She hasn’t laid in months but her human
is kind, touched by thinking
of her first new egg that the baby rolled in wonder,
the memory warmer than the stew
her stringy body would make.
That was when the sweet cherry tree was a thin forked stick.
This year the fruit burgeons red as her crest
and wattles that quiver when her new voice wakes.
The human flutters through pages
where chicken history has scratched tracks:
Sex changes in older hens
result from viral damage to ovarian tissue,
which grows back as both: ovotestes.
Testosterone will make the hen behave as male.
But the bird only knows that
a pain among the pains she carried
slowly ripened
into the sound of sunrise.




  1. Gloria D Nixon-John on

    A beautiful poem. Those last 4 lines are stunning.

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