Reality for Chickens

Those stiff new boots forming
Blisters on the back of his heel.

Trudging up the small hill
To the coop one morning,
A flurry of pine needles
Rained gently over the hat his
Mother knitted last year.

Autumn is here and truly showing it
Like a sixteen-year-old girl
With her first tattoo.

One afternoon, Linda --
The black and white speckled one,
Caught her reflection in a mirror.

She pecked at herself until
The glass nearly cracked.
He wondered as she gawked and
Furrowed her awkward neck feathers
If she could ever possibly understand,
“That must be me.”

A reflection and recognition --
Humans are blessed with this burden
Linda won’t ever know.

We all must wish every now and then
That we could forget ourselves.
That we might lose all
Knowledge and memory
Of hate, pride, illness, love, duty --

We are not meant for such luxury
As reality for chickens.

Instead we think, and pout, and cry,
Cursing heaven when we don’t know
Who else to blame.
All in vain.

Even if we could find that thing --
Our world would cease to exist.
Humanity and its firm grip on
Constructed reality would unravel.

So we look to family members,
Authority figures,
Loving partners,
To fill our voids
And cure our pain.

But one day we may find
Our own mirror,
And looking into its
Glass face, see our own.

Our delicate reality may
Be shattered when
We realize our own part
In this living pain.

And see that Linda,
Pecking at the glass,
Also blames herself.