Susan’s Holy Mountain

by Mary Warner

It’s hard inside the henhouse now at dusk.
to see how beautiful they are —
the subtle black etching
of golden leghorns, the Brahmas’ feathered feet.
Still, their drowsy mumblings please her,
and their backs, one by one,
silky beneath her hand, but
that towhead little son of hers,
all grown up now, somewhere in Tennessee,
he’s silent for months and then sly
somehow and sullen on the phone and
she counts softly, reaches twelve, then leaves,
slides shut the latch and knows
that none shall be harmed tonight in all this place,
small and hushed and smelling of hay.