Catherine Coundjeris

Like Chicks and Hens

Red and green succulents
clustered in the stone dish
with a resin figure of an old man,
sitting on a log,
and a frog plopped down
in a tiny bird bath.

She will like this tableau,
still believing in fairies:
Afterall, if the tooth fairy leaves coins,
she must be real.

My dear prattles on, showing me her favorite book.
I listen amazed at her grace and composure.
The strength of her youth
drags me along the sidewalk with her
as we walk the dog.

My newly acquired hip, tiring out my muscles.
I do not complain;
I am enjoying things too much.
The leaves crunch beneath our feet
and the sun is warm, the air crisp.

Earlier I guide her through Harold the Purple Crayon,
showing her the secrets of context clues.
She chugs down any tricks I give,
her young mind thirsty for more.
Silently I wished we all lived closer
like many of my friends whose
family surrounds them like chicks and hens.

Work pulled apart our circle
and planted us in different locations,
but the space leaves room for appreciation
and wistful longing…
as my roots seek out others
nearby who I recognize as essential.
My family grows
even as some members
explore new soil.

Catherine Coundjerish, a former elementary school teacher, has also taught writing at Emerson College and ESL writing at Urban College in Boston. Her poetry is published in literary magazines, including Proem, The Dawntreader, Visions with Voices, Nine Cloud Journal, Academy of the Heart and Mind, Bombfire, Paper Dragons, Kaleidoscope, North of Oxford, Shift, Halcyon Days, Blue Moon, Jalmurra, Calla Press, and Cholla Needles. Catherine is very passionate about adult literacy.