I know exactly how she feels.
That old fat hen with white feathers
her five little chicks following her
she searches for food with her calloused feet
her chicks imitate her as they walk uphill.
It is a cold morning, all is busy
to notice the danger perched on a tree.
Silent as it can be, targeting from above;
the healthy chick is eyed by the crow.
The hen so occupied with the bounty of soil,
the chicks are inexperienced of the upcoming toil.
The crow seizes the moment for a perfect meal,
it goes gliding and its claws clasp a chick.
The hen runs to rescue her chick, clacking, leaping
She follows the black bird that stole her nestling.
Is she angry, or simply begging?
A mother that fights or a mother that pleads.
The hen stops running at the tomb on top of the hill
Still looking upwards, but the crow has disappeared.
She walks back to her four other chicks
who are trembling and chirping under the taro leaves.
Life is unfair. The evil don’t always fall,
the innocents may suffer. Like my firstborn,
who died five hours after his delivery–
only five hours to breathe, then he ceased on struggling.
The loss will linger, like the smell of disinfectant
in the hospital, while my boy
was in the incubator, breathing unevenly–
a day before he was burried in the tomb on top of the hill.
Soon enough, the hen will know exactly how I felt.
Sara Kaye Recentes is an undergraduate of BA English in UP Mindanao. She lives in Malasila, Makilala, North Cotabato. She writes poems and short stories—some are her own experiences, others are what she observes. Writing enables her to somehow understand the complication of life.