A chick among the chickens

My boyfriend’s family are poultry farmers in North Yorkshire, and last year he took me in to see the little yellow chicks as soon as they had arrived.

I was struck by how many there were, and how similar and distinct they were to one another. So many birds passing nameless through that shed. How small a mark each little chicken’s life makes on the world around it. I picked one up and held it for a little while, the moment staying with me.

I wrote this poem earlier in the year and edited it with the kind help of the poet, Alyson Hallett.  

     
Roll back the sun
turn off the lights,
let even the dogs go quiet
for just a moment.

Hold your hands as if in prayer
as you grip the small one-
a small thing
the colour of June
and hear her heart
against your thumb.

No mother hen to look for you,
you won’t be missed.

But I’ll remember as I hold you,
and after too.
  

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