I wrote this poem about six years ago; it appears in my book Reconnaissance.
The Broody Hen
“You can identify a broody hen by her Zen-like gaze and deep, wary settling into the nest.” Mother Earth News
Born with her back to sin,
oblivious to turbulence,
the Buff Orpington’s gone broody.
She’s for warming those eggs, all of them.
She dreams of hatching them, raising them,
protecting them, teaching them to find food.
She mutters, growls when approached,
leaves the nest once a day
to eat and defecate.
She’ll sit on everyone else’s eggs too, but
she won’t lay anymore herself
Some hens insist on being broody,
She’s one who won’t quit brooding.
She fluffs out her peachy camel feathers
on a near permanent basis
in order to raise her body temperature
to incubate all eggs all the time,
to keep the chicks warm.
She peers at the farmer from the corner of her eye
suspicious, ready to attack,
huge, fluffy, formidable.