The Chickens
Kimberly Priest

In the yard, the chickens peck mindlessly at broken shells
thrown out the back door
forgetting that these once held their own unfertilized seed.

I watch them nibble at the calcite and think about
my womb—how hollow it feels—
as a hen rejects her tiniest offspring. If God

is Mother gathering her chicks beneath her wings
why does the hen deny this little one refuge? Everything
in creation soft and violent:

this morning, after sunrise, harvested eggs
dashed to pieces against my kitchen countertop because
my children are hungry.

        With pangs I remember that I too must eat.

Kimberly Ann Priest is an MFA graduate in Creative Writing from New England College, already holding an MA in English Language & Literature from Central Michigan University. A proud Michigan native, she has taught composition and creative writing courses for Central Michigan University and Alma College, and participated in local initiatives to increase awareness concerning sexual assault and domestic violence issues. Her academic and creative writing carefully observes the intersections between motherhood, domesticity, abuse, religion, sexual identity, and sexual trauma; and her poetry has appeared in several literary journals including The 3288 Review, ArLiJo, Borderlands: The Texas Poetry Review, Critical Pass, Storm Cellar, Temenos, Ruminate Magazine and The Berkeley Poetry Review. In 2018 her first chapbook White Goat Black Sheep will be forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Kimberly currently teaches in Oklahoma.