Hen House

by Julie Rogers

Hen House
          for Sangye

The mother is never done.
Her hands work
her heart, play dough
shapes. The mold cuts her
to size, she looks in the mirror
of her child’s eyes
and stares back.
She holds a bottle, a receiver
a broom, remembers
not knowing what to do
but she never stops
talking, her voice
an alarm clock
bull horn, lullaby
crackling long distance
muttering under her breath
quick prayers, hopes
like great clouds
on the horizon.
She tells herself
to let go
all birds fly.
She cleans and cleans
the nest, its emptiness
its clutter of songs.
She learns to sing
a new tune.
She’s off key
but carries on
late at night
when the other hens
are quiet.