Franny died last night along with her adopted sisters Cleopatra, Houdini and Bruce. I left the coop door open and forgot they were wandering around the yard at the end of the day — long week, very tired, went to bed — and a hungry animal got in the coop. In the morning, I came out early to feed the girls, and found the door open, feathers scattered in piles around the yard, entrails and blood — signs of a terrible struggle. Beautiful Franny’s rusty red feathers made the smallest pile, quite near the coop. Nothing else was left. I called out for her — Franny? and desperately tore the back off the nesting box, hoping I could find her, hoping she had survived. But nothing, no one, no hen was left.
She was beautiful, our Franny. Is it silly to say her eyes were kind. She was dainty and delicate, quiet and retiring, our Franny. She felt warm and soft, her body like a feather bed someone has been sleeping in, the same temperature as a person. She was very willing to be held.
I will never forget you, Franny kicking out of your egg like a Power Ranger, rolling over and over like a crazy Weeble, standing up within minutes of hatching. I will never forget your little peep, and how it turned into a cheep. How uncertain you were when you met the other chickens, moving around among your new siblings with such uncertainty. I will never forget your friendly exploratin of my classroom, or the way you sat on our arms, settled in and went to sleep, so secure in our care.
I am so sorry, Franny. I have piled too much on my plate, too much to do, too much to remember, and like a block tower of To-Dos tottering, you were the first to fall and I could not catch you. I’m so sorry. I am so sorry. I will miss you terribly.