Mara and the Hen
The hen pecks at the dust, it pecks at a rock, there is nothing to eat, she’s the last one left. Mara yells at her, do something useful with yourself. The hen stares back, what else should I do? Mara draws green water up from the well, heavy with sludge. She no longer boils it, waits for it to settle. Clouds form, pass by, taking their rain somewhere else. She has watched everything dry up and die waiting to dry up and die but she keeps going, cracking the stale grains between her teeth. She thinks of her children whose souls have gone elsewhere. She always thought they would come back lightened of their bodies and play in the yard. They never came. She thinks of the child growing inside her floating in a tub of murky water eyes closed, tail of a fish. It will not live long. There will be no milk, like with the others, only a few drops of blood bitter, dripping from her nipples. A few months ago she loved a man who got drunk on vodka made from tomato paste thick as dried blood then shot her chickens one by one, all but the last hen who has nothing to eat and will not lay eggs. Stop! she yells at the hen, there’s nothing left here! She sees the new baby pecking at her dry breast, its small mouth opening and closing, opening.