fed four times each day

starting after the milk cows

and the sun’s rising

the chickens cluck and follow

either nagging or thanking


grain left behind by horses

scraps from the kitchen table

greens from the garden’s bounty

all to fatten them


she calls them by name

knowing there will come a time

to tell them good-bye


(after the undated sketch, “Peasant Girl Feeding Chickens,” by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot)