I Didn’t Like It

I remember as a kid we raised chickens.
I didn’t live on a farm, and no, I didn’t like it.
But I got my early lessons
In pragmatism from those awful birds.

I fought with them.
Picked eggs from underneath those
Fierce, flesh-pecking hens,
I Neglected them, hated them, and even let some die.
But I learned a lot in that oak coop I helped to build.
On hot days, and cold, it had to be done.

With the help of our shelty,
We rounded them up each night.
She would chase them down barking,
Sniffing and asking, ‘Just one bite?’
She tenuously waited for me to take them.
We walked slowly up the hill to the roost.

I took care of them, fed them
And ate them with my family.
Those chickens really tasted good,
But I didn’t like it.
I thought all chickens tasted that way.
And store-bought eggs were cheaper.

It’s almost twenty-five years now;
Numbers never can tell the distance.
And I miss that dog.
I miss all the other things too, when I was a kid;
When the worst thing in the world was raising chickens.