Keeping chickens makes me feel like a witch. It is old-fashioned and earthy to feed them every morning and collect their eggs. We have three hens. Their names are Margery, Pearl and Iced Vovo. Each of us in the house named one.
When I wake up it is cool, but I can feel it getting warmer. There is a dampness on everything even though it hasn’t rained. I go to the kitchen in my boxers and a jumper. Through the glass doors I can see Eli sitting outside, an almost-full pot of coffee and carton of milk on the table beside him.
We still have some of the nice raw honey Jesse brought for Eli as a recovery gift. I put a little of it on a slice of bread with butter. The bread is a bit stale but I don’t toast it because I like the thick elastic stretch of the honey when I bite it, and the crunch of toast ruins the feeling. I take my plate and an empty mug outside. Eli is shirtless, sunning his new chest. I pour some coffee into my mug and sit next to him.
Eli has brought the kitchen scraps out to the chickens already. Pearl and Iced Vovo are fighting over an old bit of cabbage. Iced Vovo yanks the leaf out of Pearl’s beak, and Pearl squawks and flaps frantically. An apple core has fallen on the ground by my chair, and I pick it up and chuck it over the low fence for them.
I stand up and go to the edge of their enclosure. We have a big rhododendron growing by the coop and its branches reach over the hens. It has just started blooming – red flowers. I duck under a branch and unlock the gate. The chickens flutter as it swings toward them, and run up to my feet as I step inside. I kneel and pet each of them. They are soft and snuggle into my hands. Inside their nests I find three eggs, smooth and slightly warm. I take them back to Eli and show him.
He says he thinks he might make an omelette if I want some too. I say ok I think there is some spinach and stuff in the fridge. He stands and stretches. The sunlight glints off the silicone strips on his scars. He smiles at me, takes the eggs and goes inside. I sit back down; the sun is rising higher behind the rhododendron. One fat red blossom falls and lands with a plop among the hens, making them jump.
Mira Schlosberg is a writer, comics artist and Voiceworks fiction editor whose work has appeared in The Lifted Brow, Voiceworks and Honi Soit. You can find Mira on Twitter @miraschlosberg.