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Contemporary Haibun Online: January 2015, vol 10 no 4

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James Fowler


Dad gave up trying to keep the chickens in their pen. We left the front door open so they wouldn't have to crawl through the holes under the fence. But no matter where on the farm they were, they came scurrying when I hollered, here chicky, chicky, before I filled their water can and strewed grain on the raised-floor of the bay. Dad also placed ceramic eggs in the laying-boxes mounted along a wall of the stall with the roosting beams.

I was ten, the day I stood in the field as the barn burned. A fireman handed me a hen they'd caught. They couldn't catch the rest who ran into their home. The firemen gave up trying to save the barn and sprayed water on the shed, the apple trees in back and the woods to keep the fire from spreading. When it was over I put the hen in the shed. The next morning a rooster joined her in the barnyard. One hen and one rooster left out of one-hundred-fifty hens and five roosters. The hen never squirmed or complained as I held her. She watched as I watched.

a stonewall through the woods