Rooster’s big day

Rooster opens an eye. Dark. Of course. Gently, he ruffles his feathers, shifts his feet, opens both eyes. Clears his throat. Big day ahead. As usual. He will eat and drink later: now, there’s work to do.

He hears movement and knows the black hen is peering toward him. She likes to watch him work, likes to witness his skill, likes to be there for the first moment to know he has succeeded once again.

Rooster hops down from the rail and walks out the door of the coop to the wire fence. The end of the moon tosses a little light into the yard, and the stars wink. Goodnight, Rooster tells them, Your work is done. Sleep. He hears the black hen walk into the yard behind him. Then he clears his throat again, settles his feathers, and begins.

He knows he has timed it perfectly. He’s been at this for years. As a young cock he was sometimes hasty, started early, worked too hard. It is hard work, it takes stamina, but he knows his job and he never falters, never fails. And after the first big haul, it only takes a little well-timed effort here and there during the day until it’s time for night again.

ERRR-a-ERRR-a-ERRRRRR! ERRR-a-ERRR-a-ERRRRRR! ERRR-a-ERRRRRR! ERRR-a-ERRRRRR!

Rooster pauses for a breath. One more. ERRR-a-ERRRRRRRRRRR! And there. The tiniest slip of pale golden light appears behind the trees on the far horizon. Rooster nods. The black hen sits down. ERRR-a-ERRR-a-ERRRRRR!, cries Rooster, as he pulls the sun into the sky.

Match girl

There’s the polished moon again
hanging in its velvet sky,
and the stars
in party clothes–
every sunset’s a new occasion
to haul out the jewels.

The night’s a rich affair
invitation only
and I linger on the sidewalk
like a match girl skirting
the houses of the wealthy
with their bright lights, laughter,
and clinking crystal–

Hoping someone’s gaze will turn,
spot the princess beneath my rags
and pull me in to their magical soirée.

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