Some chickens were dumped on our street,
young, hungry and scrawny.
Each time I backed down the driveway
I prayed I wouldn’t hit them
our neighbour had clipped one
and now it had a limp
and they felt guilty.
So they put a bowl of water out
and fed them bits of this and that,
complaining about it,
that theirs wasn’t a proper home -
too close to the road.
Then I felt guilty.
I had a hutch,
plenty of shelter and space
for Snowy and Dutch
(our kids had already named them).
So I chased them up the driveway
where they were safe,
to eat and sleep and grow
Then one day we heard a crow.
The next morning, another
and spurs began to emerge.
They started fighting over friendships
with other chickens
and we knew then
we had to get rid of our
gender-fluid hens.
We didn’t want to
but the Council had said so
and when they began crowing before sunrise
we knew they had to go.
So we called the SPCA
and bird rescue over in Green Bay
but they couldn’t take them.
We called our vets to ask them
if they could help with our rooster problem
but they said no,
this was considered non-essential.
So in the end I had to do it.
We let the kids say goodbye
and they cried
while I packed them into the cat cage
to take them far from anyone’s earshot.

But if you ask me about lockdown
this isn’t the story I’ll tell you.
Instead, I’ll probably show you the video
of me training our cat to jump through hoops.

Hannah-May Lee hails from West Auckland.  As a full time mother, part-time shop assistant and lapsed poet she dedicates her spare time to bird watching, chicken raising, Lego building and jam making.  Her work has previously been featured in Potroast, Live Lines, Blackmail Press and Takahē magazine.

She views writing as a gateway to other experiences, and hopes to grant readers access to places, people and situations they may otherwise never encounter.