by Jim Nason
When Rooster flew the Co-op
to explore the world on stilts, no one talked
about the state of the nest he abandoned, the deathly
smell of broken, featherless hens, the eggshells
of prisoner grief that littered the floor-sod, rat pee
and half eaten worms, the cold wind blowing
through chicken wire. The morning he left there was
a prophetic quiet among the usually chatty stars
as they faded, distress and silence co-pillowed the hens.
The stilts he made of broken shells, straw and hay,
molded together with dust and the yoke of conquered hens
allowed him to navigate the snow that had fallen all night.
The crisp air was an affirmation. The yard was still
except for a restrained wind that filled the puncture marks
of his crossing. What if there is no better life?
Staring down the length of his new legs, Rooster
had never been naïve and could already feel the biting
cold of his freedom, his feet freezing like mice
nibbling the claw tips of his toes. Emptiness
was the steepled house he carried on his wings,
the enormous waking in his chest, sun rising
in silence, his bent over shadow tilted
against the glittery field.
Previously published in Rooster, Dog, Crow (Frontenac House, 2018).
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Jim Nason’s sixth poetry collection, Rooster, Dog, Crow was recently released with Frontenac House. He has also published a short story collection The Girl on the Escalator and his third novel, Spirit of a Hundred Thousand Dead Animals, was recently published by Signature Editions. Jim is a Finalist for the 2018 ReLit Poetry Award.