Dawn McGuire

65th and Telegraph

My friend Mary Claire
not the one with gout
the one with cancer

raised chickens in Oakland.
She built a beautiful—what do they call it—
a coop (a fine Cape Cod, $39 plans) 

from recovered wood. She had some
good cedar, sassafras, ash
from her brother's little league bat.

The roosts were perfectly leveled
when they arrived: Alpha Alice,
Petite Coquette, Becky and Beckett.

At dusk they'd bicker and fuss 
until she opened the coop, 
then up the ramp they'd go

Once on the roost, they were set 
for the night, hard-wired 
to clutch the bar until dawn.

The guy who stole them 
must have had a time that night 
ungripping their feet.

He gave up on Alice.
She probably broke some skin.
By the time M. C. made it

into the yard, he was already 
down Telly. 
"Even from the back," 

she was crying, 
"you could tell how 
fucking hungry he was."