Brooding

By Epiphany Ferrel

My silver-laced Wyandotte hen has gotten broody. She’s been sitting on the nest for 38 hours and she won’t let the other hens in to lay their eggs. There are other nesting boxes they could use, but since she won’t leave that one, that’s the one they all want. I worry they’ll start laying their eggs in the hay shed or under the porch and I won’t find them.

I open the door on the nesting box and tell the hen to move. She plumps her black and white feathers at me, white edged in black like lace. She threatens to peck my hand. I push her off the nest with a broom, gently but firmly, shoving her out the coop door.

There are eight eggs in the box, her own caramel brown, the pearly white of the Leghorns and the beach-sand tan from the Buff Orpingtons. I collect them in my shirt, cradling them like a treasure so they won’t spill. They are warm from the broody hen.

My husband and his buddy meet me on the porch, their fishing hooks hanging off their clothes and their hats, the poles and tackle boxes already in the boat and the truck motor running.

“Let me see one,” Bobby says. I hold out a brown egg, speckled with darker brown, on the palm of my hand. It’s pretty. Bobby grabs it and throws it hard. It hits the oak at the edge of our yard where it is nearly woods. I watch the yolk slide down the tree. I look helplessly at Eric.

“I can do better,” he says, snatching a white one from me.

 

 

Epiphany Ferrell has had a busy year, featuring a house fire, a bucking horse/broken bone, and a Pushcart nomination. Her stories appear recently in Pulp Literature, Slag Review and New Flash Fiction Review. She is on staff at Mojave River Review and blogs intermittently at Ghost Parachute.

 

Art by Michelle Johnsen, art editor

Michelle Johnsen is a nature and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA, as well as an amateur herbalist and naturalist. Her work has been featured by It’s Modern Art, Susquehanna Style magazine, Permaculture Activist magazine, EcoWatch.com, EarthFirst! Journal, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and used as album art for Grandma Shake!, Anna & Elizabeth, and Liz Fulmer Music. Michelle’s photos have also been stolen by APweather.com, The Daily Mail, and Lancaster Newspapers. You can contact her at mjphoto717 [at] gmail.com.