by Ann B. Day

This morning
I found a hen lying
on the dirt floor
of the chicken pen,
her breath coming in heaves.
I picked her up
and placed her on hay
in a cardboard box
so she could die in peace,
away from the other
cackling hens.

This afternoon
a square-sided truck
took away the Highland cows
and a tradition
that has filled these
hillside pastures
for over a hundred years.

I walked through the house
packing books, toys,
shoes, photo albums,
the doll with a missing eye,
and a yellow tea pot.

Now, I sit on a crate of dishes
in the bare farm kitchen,
lit only by the dusk of evening,
waiting for the moving van.

It’s hard to put my life,
my heart
into boxes.


Ann B. Day moved into a cottage at the RiverMead Retirement Community in Peterborough, New Hampshire, in 2013. She and her family owned a working guest farm in Mad River Valley of Vermont, where they raised Highland cattle, taught skiing, and held writing retreats for 50 years. She belongs to the Monadnock Writers’ Group and the Poetry Society of New Hampshire. Ann writes a nature column for the weekly Valley Reporter and publishes nature books and annual engagement calendars with her poetry and photos. Her poems have been printed in many publications, including Time Magazine, The Lyric, Green Mountain Trading Post, New England Memories, and The Poets’ Touchstone.