- Snow piled winter of Missouri
wraps trees in ice.
Limbs, summer asleep inside,
creak and crack. Each blow of wind
- raises swirling ghosts that disappear
- across undulating drifts of white
- Laboring the buried path to the chicken coop
- my steps sinking thru crusted surface crunch
- icy shock into the tops of my boots
- Morning laden with reflected light
burdens my eyes, no hand to wipe my nose,
- in one, a pail of water, the other feed.
- The salty taste stings my lips,
- freezes on my skin.
- Doubled gloved, finger tips numb
- begin to burn
as I shove open first the gate
then the door of the chicken coop.
Pungent smell of feathers and droppings
- their song of cackling, stirred warmth
- of softly flapping wings.
- in the dim light little heads, puffed bodies
- bob on their perches
stretch their necks, blink glassy eyes
- choosing the moment, jump
- to the straw covered floor
- excited for the corn
. . . . peck about my feet.