Scribblers Ring

Run, Daisy Run!

June 2013 by Mark Hoffmann

Half hidden behind the holly
he watches the three girls in the orchard.
Suddenly the youngest leaps
and as graceful as a dancer
snatches a flying insect from the air.

They still haven’t spotted him.
He reaches into his pocket,
checks he has what he needs
and approaches. Gravel crunches underfoot
and fills the orchard with sound. The girls see him
– a single beat –
then they run

towards him. Daisy first, head down,
wings out, charging like a crazed rhino.
Hot on her heels Eggwina. Then Cornflake;
eager, but as the eldest, she sprints with style.

He crouches to meet them.
Three beaks jack-hammer his palm
and an ounce of corn vanishes. The hens
loiter, lazily scrat, and peer at him with heads tilted.
Eggwina pecks his boot. He moves a hand,
holds it steady inches above glassy black and burnt orange

plumage. The hen lies flat to the ground
and waits. He scoops her up, holds her like a fragile thing
in the crook of his left arm and strokes her neck.
He takes the broccoli floret from his pocket
and offers it up. She pecks and clucks,

the man talks softly. "I'll tell you a secret, little chick:
Girlfriends have their uses, but girlfriends
can't lay eggs."