In the ominous gloom of predawn,

behind and somewhere above the henhouse,

an owl poses the question:

“Who? Who, who?”

The rooster crows again, asserting himselfInside, the hens shuffle restlessly,

murmuring their fears and discontent,

unhappy to be awakened before sunup,

with mortality perched just outside,

waiting.

The rooster screws up his courage and tremulously crows.

The owl repeats his question, “Who?”

The rooster crows again,

asserting himself now

as morning begins to bleach away the night.

The owl resigns himself to a light meal,

snatching the life from a mouse

before retiring.

Mortality perched just outside

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