Through the cracked window: a woman inside a chicken yard pushing her hand into a feed basket, scattering into the resultant shrill and fuss the damp, limp scraps. She backed off, the flesh of her arms held above reach, as the beaks tapped off the dry mud, and the shadow of the ridge behind her crept a chill colour on the cobble steps, her boots, on over the mud of the floor. The woman mostly calm, was the impression, between sweeps wiping her used hand definitively against a large turquoise diamond on her blouse.
Despite the shade, one could have admired the glint on the green-black feathers, in a shivering puff from too much chicken-excitement, chicken-thoughts of a meal finally come, and in a rain flopped from the sky. Chickens don’t worry about sleep, death, do they? Scratch scratch. The woman frowning then, watching the dispersal of shit and straw from under their ugly banded feet. She thought of the Sisters, inside the house (Gam had not turned to look, kept at her work steadily until the food was gone) – they were going about homesteading in their peculiar, lacksidaisy way. They were kind, or, as you would say with a drier heart, foolish. Keeping their flock past good-eating stage to boiler fowl stage. To let them be ‘reclaimed by nature’ rather than meet the death of interlocking fingers above the kitchen sink. The obvious was, death is of nature, and though there’s some fine grading between one position – killing – and the other – waiting for it to die, death, in the end, is flat and undeniable in what ever way attained. But the woman in the chicken yard with peelings sticking to her loose, functional clothing had a mind more familiar with the vagueness and permeability of death than would be supposed from anyone at a distance.
Most people are capable of ascribing all sorts of notions onto a middle aged ‘latina’ (whatever that meant anyhow, American for uncounted generations, and half her people were America before America was stuck and printed on the map, she believed) – inhabitant of a tough, windchaffed body, passer of no exams or certifications. Few archetypes were roomy enough to fit the acuteness and élan and despair that lay at the heart of Georgiana Coronado. Not that she shared her wisdoms with the commune or anyone else, but kept it for her own land, over ridge down in the valley, to which in any case her special field of study was limited.