Backyard Hen

by Tory Grieves

If you have stayed up worrying
about the beady-eyed possum perched
on a shadowy branch, the neighbor’s dog pacing the fence,
or the patient hawk circling too close,
then you know the value
of a daily egg.

And if you have pulled from the laying box
that warm, smooth capsule of almost-life,
birthed from a near-dinosaur turned sitting duck,
then you know the gelatinous mass spitting
in the pan is not just generations of gene-tuning
on display, nor fifty cents forgone,

but the chance to honor a backyard hen,
quietly foraging for the morning’s sluggish bugs.
Never more than a few inches from death,
she thinks of nothing but breakfast.

Tory Grieves has lived in Asheville since 2018. She works in the field of climate risk analysis and is an avid trail runner. A lifelong lover of poetry, she enjoys reading and writing in her free time and previously studied at the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference.