Sneeze or laugh, and the pure white chook would fly
and flutter to her hide all fluffed with blame.
Oh, I was out to get her. She’d deny
food from my proffered hand, and when I came
to lock the roost, she struggled with the shame
of a creature forced, finally, to admit
she had no other choice but being game
to shuffle in with others and submit.
I never saw her wander, never sit
in dirt-baths in the warm hen-loving sun;
she stayed clean in her shed, preferring it
to the shocking world that made her flap and run.
The safe wall of her shelter hid the brown
fox who jumped her perch and ripped her down.
Mark Allinson was born and raised in Australia. For some years he taught literary studies at Monash University, in Melbourne. He once trained as a pilot but is now entirely grounded, living and writing on the NSW coast. His poems have appeared in numerous online journals.