Out of four hens, we get one egg a day so far, varied once by a double yolk, otherwise the division of labor suggests a union coop, as on Sunday, Silver lays; Monday, Mary— the barred rocks—then the buff Orpingtons Tuesday, Wednesday, almost the rotation deserves a factory whistle for production of brown shells in pine shavings this January, clocked in for a seven-day work week; so one hen could rotate out a week each month—one in the hole as on my old street crew, one unseen by passers by, who honk to say everyone knows the union divides up work: one to dig, one to throw dirt into the truck bed, one with a clipboard and leaning on a longhandle. No matter what deals get made in coop or clutch, work gets done by one alone in the dark.
Robert Stewart’s latest book of poems is Working Class (2018, Stephen F. Austin State Univ.); his latest collection of essays is The Narrow Gate: Writing, Art & Values (2014, Serving House). For many years, he edited New Letters quarterly, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Guest Editor Katelyn Roth graduated from Pittsburg State University with her Master’s in poetry. Her work has previously appeared online at Silver Birch Press and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity. Currently, she lives, works, and writes in Kansas City.