We woke to white feathers under the orange tree
and the door of the coop aghast.
Our last two hens, those yogis, martyred. Unhappy auguries on polling day.
All morning the weather mumbled its sombre oracles. I’d like to hope
the birds were the last thing we had to lose
to pay for deliverance tonight. But only the saved are certain.
It turns out the fox just got lucky
and the chooks are just dead
and none of this is a metaphor for anything but itself. It turns out
we didn’t put the bastard back in charge of the chookhouse.
You lose enough of what you love and you learn at last
to bed your virtues safer down or wake to find them savaged.
It turns out this is the way
the syntax of the real world runs,
implying one thing, meaning also another. Meaning everything
ends, the good with the bad. And the whole world is a metaphor;
nature is a blind god’s prophecy. The hens were innocents; they were, somehow,
the regime; they were even our better selves. The last thing we have to lose.