Chicken Hearts

In tepid brooders long ago,
They met as pristine chicks—
Lucetta, a Rhode Island Red,
Camille, a hybrid mix.

Their differences were cast aside
And friendship came to dwell—
It was as if before they hatched
They’d shared a single shell.

Throughout their awkward fledgling years
The bond between them grew;
Forsaking all who would divide,
They formed a flock of two.

At last the age of nesting came—
They settled in to lay
And screeched aloud their egging song
To keep raccoons away:

“Whither thou layest, I will lay,
 May all our eggs be blessed,
And of the feathers I collect,
 With thine I’ll line my nest.”

One dreadful day Lucetta gazed
Forlorn between her hips,
The anguish clear upon her face
Despite her lack of lips.

“Woe unto me!” came her lament,
“No eggs can I provide!
And older hens who can’t produce,
 Are fricasseed or fried!

“I’ll never peck or scratch again
 Or ever cross the road;
Oh! where within me lies the strength,
 To bear this heavy load?”

Camille heard poor Lucetta’s sobs
And hurried to her side;
She gathered her beneath a wing
But found too much to hide.

“I’ll find a way, my sister dear,
 To cure this twist of fate—
I shan’t allow a friend of mine,
 To sizzle on a plate.

“This crisis o’er thy empty nest
 Has caught us unprepared,
But I thee pledge to never roost
 Until thy life is spared.”

Camille engaged her tiny brain
For schemes she might impart,
But finding nothing useful there
She searched within her heart.

In selfless love she hatched a plan
To solve their desperate plight—
She’d lay Lucetta’s eggs by day
And lay her own by night.

She sacrificed the life she had
To quell Lucetta’s fears,
Hence both survived ‘till ninety-five…
That is, in poultry years.

With squawks and clucks their legend grew,
Retold with fervent zeal,
And o’er the years no hen forgot
Lucetta and Camille.

And every morn the roosters crow
Their tribute without end:

“No greater love hath hens than this—
 To lay one for a friend.”

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