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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.



Mt. Shasta, CA