Hen Eggs 2

Hen Eggs 2

by Stephen page

It is exceptionally cold this morning for autumn;

A tenuous fog clings to the frost.

I don corduroys, a wool jacket, a belt knife

And ready myself for adventure–Indian 

Fighting, puma killing; but today

My youngest grandchild grasps my hand.

I lift her and step outside the kitchen

door.   She is one and walks well already

But I have to carry her because the collies

Frighten her: they are mountainous dragons

With fire-wet tongues and hot breath

And teeth like jagged sun-bleached rocks.

She is armored in full-body polar fleece

And peers through the visor with wood-green

Eyes and sees that the collies lead us

Through the mist guarding us from trees;

She smiles down at them from her throne 

But will not allow me to set her upon

Her booted feet as we head toward

The chickens, or kaw-kaws as she has named

Them as early as this morning’s breakfast.

There are no fresh eggs in the coop; her eyes

Worry, and I assume a ranch-hand bandit 

Must have robbed them, but as I step out

Of the gate I notice a possum print

In the mud.   The mist has lifted

And the sun burnt off most of the frost

So we journey around the yard, I showing

Her how to smell the sharp-scented jacaranda

Leaves, to touch and name the autumn

Flowers, to discern the silhouette 

of mockingbird from ratbird;

her weight, her weight, strengthening my arms.

*This poem as published in the Linden Avenue Literary Journal

and later appeared in A Ranch Bordering the Salty River

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