When the earth can be worked, they come
to investigate. Horses peer over fences,
cattle stare through barbed wire, but
the Roadrunners come in pairs like cops
on patrol inspecting changes to the ground
they claim, including us, without fear.
The quail fall out of the Live Oaks
well after dawn, tittering like children
late for school, gray coveys rolling
off the hill to graze new ways
to the water trough, and we claim them
all like family, one that gets along—
a sense of belonging greater
than ownership, taken root and proven
to be more than enough to feel secure.