Deep Breaths

We wake when the sun is beginning to light the trees
Aflame with deep hues of red, purple and orange, and
As the moon fades into brightening blue I count
The chickens as they jump – one, two, three at a time –
Spreading their wings to flap to the ground and scurry
To peck at feed and gurgle – swallow – water.
 
It’s the calm before the storm –
Before sunlight moves to cover everything and
Sombreros are thrown on to shade eyes that are
Stinging with salty perspiration falling from foreheads as we
Wrap green twist-ties tight
Around chard, kale, basil, parsley –
And bend to twist summer squash off spikey stems.
 
Before the raging battle between humid air and body
Before mental and physical fatigue causes punchy laughter to
Flow out of our mouths and echo throughout the Bottom Field –
 
I am watching that last chicken twist her little head – peer down
At the ground, contemplating –
And I smile at her, waiting, waiting, until –
She finally squats –
Then propels herself through the morning air.

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