Never enough roofs to shed the sun in the San Joaquin,
I’m leveling a pad for a barn with the skid steer
that’s become a hydraulic extension of my hands

between two huge Valley Oaks, four-foot across—
a roost for two Bald Eagles, long-dead witnesses
to father and son not learning to work cattle together.

In the ash pile of fallen limbs, a Killdeer sets and defends
her nest as I surround her with windrows of clay clods
to crumble and fill once the chicks are hatched.

Feathers fanned to fight for hours, her eyes bleed red
as her mate drags a wing nearby. Perhaps respect
lets four speckled eggs stop progress along the creek.


3 responses to “FOUR SPECKLED EGGS

  1. I love this poem, and the sentiment. Thanks John, for being such a great steward of the animals on your ranch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kim, for checking-in. As my son and I discussed last night, had it been a bird that didn’t defend its nest, would I have spared it? This rambling stream of thought becomes just another layer of meaning for this particular place before a barn is built to protect a fifth-wheel for my son to live in.


  2. so glad for that respect


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