Abby's Road: Walking on eggshells in my own back yard

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The acorns are falling, the leaves not far behind,

And I’m bracing for what will occupy the mind

Of the man who designed and built a chicken coop,

That he filled with actual chickens who roam our yard in a loop.

“They are beautiful!” he lies to me on a daily basis.

“They lay eggs!” he shouts, as I drift into stasis.

“They attack!” I think as I nudge one with a rake,

Wondering how many more chicken walks I can take.

They arrived in a box, 10 tiny fuzz balls that chirped.

Arrived on my birthday, but I pretended not to be irked.

My stiff upper lip began to quiver, I’ll admit,

When I learned they’d live inside until they were legit.

Legit for a chicken is measured by stature and girth,

They’re not built for Maine temperatures right from their birth.

So we set them in their box, in a room with a view,

And turned on the heat lamp so they wouldn’t get the flu.

Every night we took to bed, hearing a chorus of their squeaks.

I don’t believe I achieved REM sleep for weeks.

When they laughed at our jokes about them crossing the street,

I decreed it was time for their coop and them to meet.

The coop is nestled in a corner of our land,

Pieces from Home Depot, my husband built it by hand.

It boasts two windows, one with a box full of flowers,

The other has a box for egg-laying in the early hours.

Most fun is a winter day that dawns with my husband away,

For then I must trudge out back to deliver the meals of the day.

The food and water dishes have frozen over with ice;

I must take a stick to each and hack away once or twice.

I hack with one hand as the other shoos and swats,

All while I loudly yell that I do not like them a lot.

It’s fear that I’m hoping to instill so they move back,

Instead they eye me with judgment as my kids give me flak.

“That’s not how daddy does it!” they love to remind me,

And it is him who in my head I cannot help but see.

Laughing as the tears to my eyes start to spring,

Nodding at the kids, glad they understand who is king.

Our children love the chickens, that is certainly true.

But then we have to explain why chickens die, which they do.

Show me a happy story about a fox or a weasel,

And I’ll show you a chicken who has survived a bath of diesel.

With September comes the start of the fall fair season,

Which is when my husband loses control of his senses and reason.

We have actual talks about whether we should get a goat,

It’s a victory we don’t have pigs in a muddy little moat.

I can’t go to fairs that threaten to feature a llama

Because he’ll think we should become its human family mama.

We brought a rabbit home once, which we named Oopsy-Daisy,

A great name because now the rabbit’s pushing up daisies.

To date, I have rocked a rabbit and carried many a fowl.

I’ve had to draw lines based on spitting and growls.

I stay up late with worry that they’re not tucked in tight,

Not my children, mind you, but the birds I prefer out of sight.

The signs of fall today seem to be mocking and teasing,

Knowing I don’t find the promise of more animals pleasing.

I haven’t found any way to stop them from joining the nest,

My arguments as futile as asking my son to take a rest.

Maybe I should take my cue from the acorns and leaves,

Accept that I’m a farmer’s wife, and roll up my sleeves.

Go with the breeze, change with the sun,

Let go of the tree, admit that I’m done (for).

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Abby Diaz grew up in Falmouth and lives there again, because that’s how life works. She blogs at whatsleftover.com. Follow Abby on Twitter: @AbbyDiaz1.

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