Poem Corner: Ode to My Beautiful Friend Henny


You came to us as a youngster.

Thrown on PCH like trash.

Joined by your buddy Elvis.

You both looked like hell.


For seven years you crowed,

at every morning sunrise.

Giving glory to God,

But not the neighbors.


Roosters are not nuggets,

nor wings or breasts.

You are sentient beings

With desire to live like the rest of us.


You’d wait by the gate,

Every day like a sentinel.

Hoping for a treat

Like peanuts, worms or Chex-Mix.


You shared your home

With many turtles,

Eating their worms,

And they sharing your bread.


When I spoke to you,

You did your Rooster dance.

Hopping around, wings flashing,

Straining up to me with love.


We learned about dirt baths,

Rooster fights,

Animal control’s silly fines,

And bumblefoot.


You loved us,

But you didn’t trust us.

We couldn’t pick you up.

But that didn’t matter.


You and Elvis,

Fighting to the death.

A mess of blood and feathers.

Separate yards was the answer.


Then the Woolsey fire,

At 3000 degrees,

and 17 miles wide.

St. Francis helped you survive.


Then you hurt your leg.

Swollen and bleeding.

I tried to treat it,

but finally to the vet.


Two weeks of treatment

for bumblefoot.

Back to the rescue

Not quite the same.


You stopped crowing,

But you still wanted treats.

Unsteady on your bandaged feet,

Quietly declining.


I found you in your house.

A pile of beautiful feathers.

Eyes closed forever.

I love you, damn chicken.

—Susan Tellem  8/10/2019


If you are interested in submitting a poem for possible inclusion in The Malibu Times’ print edition, you may do so by emailing it to editorial@malibutimes.com or mailing it to The Malibu Times office at 3864 Las Flores Canyon Road.