Fluffed hens cluck but black and black
in the bitter night in the brooder house
they cannot see the galaxies whorl.
And in the barn where one bulb lights,
the birth bag drops unseen, the calf
plops all unheard into prickly straw.
Under the wan glow, low now over
its laboring breath and tongue its
birth dew as tottering, lurching
it finds your warm, leathery teats.
Then, feel the ferocious sucking and
give your milk and all your spent life.
Wait against the icy night for spring
while hens fret in their nests of straw.
Allen Helmstetter lives in rural Minnesota. He loves the rivers, woods, and fields there, and after hiking the trails, is often inspired to write about the relationship between nature and the human condition. He has been published in North Coast Review.